Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Mercedes aim to bring “chunk” of car development to first race

2020 F1 season

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Mercedes is planning to bring several of the upgrades it originally planned for the first half of 2020 to next month’s season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.

F1 teams’ upgrade plans have been disrupted by the enforced factory closures which were put in place due to the pandemic, and the cancellation of the opening rounds.

“We haven’t yet done a single race, but actually quite a lot of time has passed since we launched this car,” said Mercedes’ technical director James Allison in a video released by the team.

“If you imagine where the launch car was, the car that would have gone to Australia, that was frozen around about Christmas. So there was whole of January, the whole of February, March, all making the car quicker in the wind tunnel and also in the design departments.

“So 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.

“So our challenge now is to make sure that 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 we’ll, of course, take as much of the development as fast as we can get it onto the car.”

Romain Grosjean, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Haas is not planning big race one upgrades
Not all teams will have upgrades early in the year. Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said he won’t commit to building new parts until he has a better understanding of the team’s expected income.

“At the moment we are not planning any updates until we know exactly what we are doing this year budget-wise, what we are doing race-wise,” he said. “I cannot spend money [if] I don’t know if I’ve got that.

“In the moment you have to be very cautious with what we are doing because obviously we all know the income is going down with having less races and having races without spectators.”

“I will decide when I know the income from the races from FOM,” he added. “I don’t know exactly how their income depends on the races, the TV contracts, I’m not included in that, but that’s what it is.

“At the moment all the sponsors are in a difficult position because everybody got hurt by the pandemic. So the main thing is how many races and how much income we get from FOM.”

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2020 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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  • 5 comments on “Mercedes aim to bring “chunk” of car development to first race”

    1. Any info if they will have engine upgrades?

      Or if they were able to resolve those few issues they had in some non-upgrade way?

    2. Never been in “Pole Position” before. This feels really weird.
      Yes, I appreciate that there is a big $$$ difference between the Haas and Mercedes operations, but F1 on the car side of the ledger is all about design and development. If you stand still, you will be falling behind.
      I am sure that Haas has some very dedicated and sharp members on the team, but as with selecting drivers that can gain you tenths and larger chunks of time per lap, superior development requires brilliant minds.

      Keith, Dieter …
      There is a steady stream of reports on drivers and some on team managers, so how about similar press for the design side of the garage. We know some of the story at RedBull and snip-its from Mercedes, but who is doing he leg-work at the other teams.?

      1. As I recall, last season Haas claimed they were having trouble understanding Pirelli’s 2019 range of tyres, which teams voted to use this year too. It might be keeping their car the same as what they used at the pre-season testing is partly to minimise the changes and to help with keeping the tyres inside the “predictable” window.

        1. Indeed @drycrust, it might well be that they still need to see that what they did actually improved the car in realistic racing conditions before putting in money they don’t know they have to improve on the unknown base (the top teams, apart from more money, also used their money to get better data, so they probably know better where their car is compared to last year – well, two, not sure about Ferrari)

    3. almost as if they knew development was to be freezed…

    Comments are closed.