Mercedes Top Engineer Lists Silver Arrows’ No. 1 Priority After Horrible Outing in Australia

Mercedes Top Engineer Lists Silver Arrows’ No. 1 Priority After Horrible Outing in Australia
IMAGO / HochZwei

The Australian GP was Mercedes’ lowest point of the 2024 season. Not only did they end the race with 0 points, neither Lewis Hamilton nor George Russell finished the Grand Prix. Questions continue to flood Mercedes about their performance and what they can do to improve, and addressing the same, James Allison pointed out his team’s top priority to churn out better performances on race weekends.

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On Mercedes’ official YouTube channel, the team posted a video where Allison spoke about what went wrong, and what they are doing to make things better. The answer to what they have to do in the latter front is simple on paper.

“The thing we’re more focused on is the pace. Because if you get the pace sorted out, the season will be okay.” 

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Allison claimed that the baseline reliability of the car, the skills of their drivers, and other foundational things don’t as much attention as pace. Hence, should the team work out a way to improve the W-15’s pace, the rest of the season should pan out much better.

However, after the race in Melbourne, the reliability of the car might need more attention from the Mercedes engineers. Lewis Hamilton became an unfortunate victim of a rare DNF by the Silver Arrows, ending a rather miserable weekend for the Briton. Having failed to make it past Q2 a day before, an engine failure meant Hamilton became the first Mercedes driver to DNF in 2024.

Hamilton remains unhappy with Mercedes’ mechanical package, despite complaining about the same for over two years now. The W-15 showed early promise (especially in pre-season), but with time, it was evident that they aren’t progressing. While George Russell has fared slightly better, Hamilton is yet to feel comfortable with the car. Hence, Mercedes need to bring vital upgrade packages to their car if they are looking to bid Hamilton farewell, on a good note.

Lewis Hamilton detailed the biggest disadvantage of Mercedes

Mercedes’ downfall began in 2022 when the ground effect regulations kicked in. While many teams were able to cope with the change well, the Silver Arrows faced immense porpoising issues. To level this out, Hamilton revealed his team had to take around 90 points of downforce out of their car. He claimed that Mercedes had the downforce they wanted but could not utilize it, which is why they ended up losing a huge amount of performance in their car.

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Unsurprisingly, downforce stands as a crucial element of winning races in F1. The more planted a car is on the track, the more confident a driver feels at high speed corners and braking points. Furthermore, pushing the car to the limit on straights also becomes easier for them. Hence, the overall lap time increases or reduces drastically, depending upon the downforce of the car.

As for Mercedes, a lack of ideal downforce has left them behind their rivals at the moment. While the Silver Arrows were once top contenders to become world champions, they currently stand as mid-table prospects. Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren have all improved on their car from 2023.

Meanwhile, Mercedes are still stuck figuring out the issues with their car. Hence, the popular belief is that their struggles will continue even in 2025, with 2026 being the first ray of hope for chances of improving for the Brackley-based team.

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