Mercedes is already seeing development in its factory “that is going to get us back into this championship fight”, according to technical director Mike Elliott.
A disappointing start to the season compared to Red Bull has left Mercedes admitting it got its 2023 car wrong and looking into radical changes with the aim of fighting for wins before the end of the season. At the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, team principal Toto Wolff was far more optimistic when it came to the direction being followed in development, and Elliott says the team’s response has quickly started to show positive results.
“Obviously, Bahrain was a real reality check and to find ourselves in the position we find ourselves in, not being competitive, was a real disappointment,” Elliott said. “A disappointment for the whole team. But you have to get yourself through that and you have to turn that into, what we are going to do about it? How are we going to bring the sort of the energy and what we are capable of doing? How are we going to move ourselves forward? How are we going to get ourselves back in the fight?
“Walking around the factory there is huge amount of energy, there is a huge amount of work going on, we are starting to see some of the development come through already that is going to get us back into this championship fight. All we can do is just keep pushing, and I’ve been really pleased to see the attitude in the team.”
After being beaten by power unit customer Aston Martin in each of the opening two races, Elliott said the term “concept” being used when relating to the Mercedes is not solely about the sidepod design, and the team is evaluating multiple different avenues in its quest to turn things around.
“The simple answer is it means different things to different people,” he said. “After Bahrain we had to accept we weren’t where we wanted to be, so we had to look at all the things that make up our car and work out what could we be doing differently; how could we get more performance, because there is a significant gap for us to catch up to the front. So, the engineers are busy looking at aerodynamics, they are looking at the shape of the car, things like the sidepod geometry, the floor geometry – have we missed a trick?
“But we are also looking in the simulation world; are we targeting the right things, are we pushing the aerodynamics in the right direction, looking at the mechanical setup of the car. Are there things there that we are missing? What else can we bring to the car that is going to add performance?
“We try to do that as fast as we possibly can because we want to get back to the front, we want to be competing at the front and the only way we are going to do that is by accepting we are not in the position we want to be and fighting and working really hard to get back there.”