Former Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn is sure the team will not be caught out by the changes to the aerodynamic rules for 2017.
Speaking to the FIA publication Auto, Brawn described how he had instilled a discipline of making early preparations for regulations changes when he was in charge of the team.
“Mercedes will have been pulling resource off this year’s programme onto next year very early, once they saw where they were with the car,” he said.
“If I was there, and I’m sure they’ve carried on a similar philosophy, I’d be saying, ‘Right, we’ve got a strong car, let’s get everyone onto next year’s programme’. I don’t know how many other teams could do that. Success breeds success. Mercedes will be strong next year, despite the greater emphasis on chassis.”
Brawn said the team’s breakthrough campaign in 2014 was born when the Mercedes board sanctioned an increase in spending to take advantage of the V6 hybrid turbo rules change and the failure of the Resource Restriction Agreement.
“Mercedes’ 2014 success was actually born at the end of 2011, 2012 when we had a tough meeting with the board,” he explained. “They were either going to stop or they were going to step up, because 2010 and ’11 weren’t good enough.”
“We had been following the resource restriction philosophy, which was collapsing. We were 450 people and we were fighting teams that were 500 or 600 people, and there’s no solution to that. We said to the board: ‘Either we step up or we ought to step back because we’re in between at the moment’. The board, all credit to them, said: ‘OK, we’ll step up. We’ll give it a go. What do you need?'”
“So it was then that we put the project teams together for 2014. We hired Aldo Costa. We hired Geoff Willis. We hired the people we needed and it started to come together. That’s the strategic planning you need. You’ve got to have a vision of where you want to be in six, twelve months, a year, two years.”
However Brawn admitted the team had been tempted to focus more resources during 2013, when they won three races, instead of the following year’s car.
“Up until the summer break we were fighting with Red Bull for the championship, but I had a programme where resources were being moved across to the 2014 programme,” said Brawn.
“My judgement now is that Red Bull didn’t do that because they came back after the summer break with a car that was a lot faster, so they must have kept an effort going on that existing car or else they had more resources than we had! However, the consequence of that was that they began 2014 on the back foot. Having the opportunity and the conviction to make the call [on which fights to pick] is essential.”
2017 F1 season
- Sepang pays Haas compensation for Grosjean’s 2017 crash
- Williams revenues rose in 2017 after Bottas deal with Mercedes
- Australian Grand Prix cost government £56 million last year
- “Grand Prix Driver” takes you inside McLaren’s nightmare final year with Honda
- Undisputed champion: 10 titles name Hamilton top driver of 2017