Video: Is Mercedes' 2018 W09 F1 car another diva?

The 2018 Mercedes Formula 1 car is put under the microscope in this week's episode of The Motorsport Show, which analyses whether the team has another "diva" on its hands

Video: Is Mercedes' 2018 W09 F1 car another diva?

Mercedes has dominated F1 since the switch to V6 turbo-hybrid engines in 2014 but is yet to win a race this season as Ferrari and Red Bull have shared the spoils.

Last year, in the face of an increased challenge from Ferrari, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff said its 2017 car was a "diva" because of the times it struggled to get it working.

In China last weekend, where Mercedes was comfortably second-best to Ferrari in qualifying, Wolff called the 2018 W09 a "capricious woman".

Technical analyst Craig Scarborough tells Peter Windsor that Mercedes' new car has "no big new concepts, it's just last year's car [but] a bit better all round", but tweaks to the front suspension have been made.

Scarborough says this is "to try to get the suspension working in tune with the aerodynamics, which is one of the diva-like qualities it had on the car last year".

The rest of the package, he says, is an optimised version of last year's car, but Windsor questions the decision to stick with a longer wheelbase and its call not to follow Red Bull and Ferrari down a high-rake route.

"It's not a rake car, and we've just come out of the Chinese Grand Prix where the operating window for the tyres is very, very small," says Windsor.

"I made the point last year that when you have a 'rake car' potentially that's going to give you a bigger sweet spot.

"Again we saw them [Mercedes] struggling. Have they made a mistake not building more rake into the car?"

Scarborough disagrees, citing Barcelona testing and the Australian Grand Prix - where Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton should have won but for a safety car - as evidence of the car's inherent performance.

"I think it is still in how the suspension and the aero are working together and that's irrespective of rake," says Scarborough.

"I think they could be even quicker if they did go to a rake car, but clearly their philosophy has been working for four years."

shares
comments
Sainz vs Verstappen F1 comparison 'shows Hulkenberg's class'
Previous article

Sainz vs Verstappen F1 comparison 'shows Hulkenberg's class'

Next article

Williams group profit down in 2017 but F1 team increases earnings

Williams group profit down in 2017 but F1 team increases earnings
How Tyrrell became a racing Rubik’s cube as it faded out of F1 Plus

How Tyrrell became a racing Rubik’s cube as it faded out of F1

Formula 1’s transformation into a global sport meant the gradual extinction for a small team determined to stay true to its low-budget roots. But Tyrrell would eventually be reborn as a world-beating outfit again, explains MAURICE HAMILTON, albeit in different colours…

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver Plus

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Many doubted Lewis Hamilton’s move from McLaren to Mercedes for the 2013 Formula 1 season. But the journey he’s been on since has taken the Briton to new heights - and to a further six world championship titles

Formula 1
Feb 2, 2023
Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era Plus

Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

OPINION: With teams outside the top three having struggled in Formula 1 in recent seasons, the rules changes introduced in 2022 should have more of an impact this season. How well Haas does, as the poster child for the kind of team that F1 wanted to be able to challenge at the front, is crucial

Formula 1
Feb 2, 2023
The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff Plus

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

OPINION: Although the central building blocks for Mercedes’ recent, long-lasting Formula 1 success were installed before he joined the team, Toto Wolff has been instrumental in ensuring it maximised its finally-realised potential after years of underachievement. The 10-year anniversary of Wolff joining Mercedes marks the perfect time to assess his work

Formula 1
Feb 1, 2023
The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate Plus

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Alpine’s signing of Pierre Gasly alongside Esteban Ocon revives memories of a famous all-French line-up, albeit in the red of Ferrari, for BEN EDWARDS. Can the former AlphaTauri man's arrival help the French team on its path back to winning ways in a tribute act to the Prancing Horse's title-winning 1983?

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021? Plus

How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021?

OPINION: A system to score all the grands prix from the past two seasons produces some interesting results and sets a standard that 2023 should surely exceed

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Plus

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Formula 1
Jan 30, 2023
Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return Plus

Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

He has more starts without a podium than anyone else in Formula 1 world championship history, but Nico Hulkenberg is back for one more shot with Haas. After spending three years on the sidelines, the revitalised German is aiming to prove to his new team what the F1 grid has been missing

Formula 1
Jan 29, 2023