Mercedes hoping to take significant updates to Austria

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes hopes to have significant updates ready for its cars when the Formula 1 season commences with next month’s Austrian Grand Prix.

While factories were shut down for nine weeks during the height of the pandemic, the Silver Arrows still has a backlog of ideas from work conducted after the design of the W11 which it sent to Albert Park for the original season-opener was finalised.

With factories operating again, and a run of eight grands prix in the space of 10 weeks coming up, the Mercedes-AMG Formula One Team now faces the task of implementing those developments.

“If you imagine where the launch car was and the car that would have gone to Australia, that was frozen around about Christmas,” said Mercedes Technical Director Allison in a team social media video.

“There was the whole of January, whole of February, March, all making the car quicker in the wind tunnel and also in the design departments.

“We got quite a lot of ideas about how to make it quicker, and quite a lot of those ideas were already in process through the design office before we were forced to shut down nine weeks ago.

“Our challenge now is to make sure that quarter of a year of development can get off the drawing boards and onto the car as swiftly as possible.

“We hope to have a chunk of that for the first race in Austria, and the season that follows will of course take as much of the development as fast as we can get it onto the car in turn.”

Mercedes has won the last six drivers’ and constructors’ championships, and Valtteri Bottas was fastest in both pre-season tests in February of this year.

He and team-mate Lewis Hamilton each had a day in a 2018-spec car at Silverstone earlier this month, their first track activity since the height of the pandemic.

The outing gave not only the drivers but also the broader team a chance to practice their jobs, which now include social distancing protocols, after such a long break.

Allison feels a level of tension in the squad with racing set to resume in just a fortnight from now.

“Although it might feel distant to all the fans of the sport who are hungry for that on-track action, the first race in Austria feels desperately close to us,” he explained.

“So we’re utterly paranoid now, to use the few weeks we have ahead of us to make sure that the interruption doesn’t throw us off our normal balance and poise, and that we do get everything back up to the sort of ramming speed that we had at the end of winter testing and prior to the first race of the normal season.

“So, all of our efforts are around ramping that back up, turning all the systems back on and making sure we’ve blown away all the cobwebs and that we’re fighting fit and good to go by the time we hit Austria.”

The Austrian Grand Prix will be held on July 3-5, with the Styria Grand Prix to also take place at the Red Bull Ring, on July 10-12.

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