Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2021

Mercedes “in a better place” after Silverstone upgrade

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In the round-up: Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff talked up his team’s chances following the update they introduced to their car at the British Grand Prix.

In brief

Wolff encouraged by Mercedes gains

Following Mercedes’ aerodynamic update, Lewis Hamilton has retaken the lead in the drivers’ championship, albeit aided by rival Max Verstappen suffering misfortune in the last two rounds.

But Wolff believes his team has also made real progress with its car as Formula 1 prepares to return from its summer break.

“We head to Spa-Francorchamps in a good position,” he said. “We lead both championships and the W12 feels in a better place, after the upgrades introduced at Silverstone and an encouraging showing in Hungary.

“But we know there is a long road ahead and so much can still happen in this season of ups and downs.”

The championship fight with Red Bull has “definitely been one of the most intense F1 seasons that I can remember, so far” said Wolff. “The battle is far from over and after a few weeks away from the track, we’re all really excited to get back to work.”

Triple-headers a necessarily evil – Steiner

Formula 1 will begin its second triple-header this weekend, with potentially two more to follow. Haas team principal Guenther Steiner isn’t keen on them, but believes Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has little alternative.

“Triple-headers aren’t avoidable with the pandemic still around,” said Steiner. “Ideally it would be a single race with a week in-between and then the second option would be to have double-headers and one week in-between, but we can’t choose this year.

“I think FOM and Stefano are doing a very good job in getting a good calendar together for us and we have to live by it. For sure, it will be a tough second half of the season, but our team is tough, and we will get to the end of it.”

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Comment of the day

Don’t expect to see any double diffuser-style innovations in Formula 1 in the near future, says @Dbradock:

Given that Brawn has already suggested that they’ll change regulations to prevent any a team from gaining the benefit of something innovative like the double diffuser was, I doubt we’ll see anything like it after a race or two in 2022.

I used to love seeing the new seasons cars in the first few races and seeing how different innovations played out, even when one team ended up being way better than the rest of the field, but I’m not sure we’re ever going to see that again as there just doesn’t seem to be enough room for a team to bring something entirely radical to the table. That in turn is probably going to ensure that lower budget teams always remain at the back.
DB-C90 (@Dbradock)

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  • 13 comments on “Mercedes “in a better place” after Silverstone upgrade”

    1. I’m looking forward to a great title fight this year, but I have a feeling that the best part of the battle might already be over. Looking at Mercedes’ race pace in Britain and Hungary, it seems they’ve made a genuine step forward. Lewis wasn’t on top form in the first half of the season, but he’s always stronger in the 2nd half of the season anyways, so we can expect the kind of form we saw from Lewis in the opening 5 races of the season replicated for the remainder of the season.

      Mercedes had a bit of a slump from Monaco to Britain, which is where Red Bull could have really capitalised. Max was unfortunate not to have scored more points in Baku, Britain and Hungary. I have a feeling it’s going to bite them in the remaining races as it’s going to be harder than expected to chase Mercedes down and retake the lead.

      What we need, is some of Max’s bad luck passed on to Lewis for the 2nd half of the season to make it really interesting.

      1. Yes, just look at how the upgrades hardly had time to be tested before it was run at Silverstone and still gave the Mercedes big chunk of time, so they have obviously unlocked something that will likely keep them ahead for a while.

      2. I’d quite like things to go back to “very close”, but actually expect it to return to a comfortable RB advantage.

        In silverstone, Merc only grabbed pole (for the sprint race) with a tow, and with RB not having a setup that worked in the evening. In the spring race, RB looked quicker.

        In Hungary, RB couldn’t balance their car and had to remove downforce. While they may have a real issue, I don’t expect them to struggle in the that way again.

        Either way, we’ll know soon.

    2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      25th August 2021, 8:24

      The COTD leaves me flabbergasted. Of course we will only know how the new regulations play out once we have seen the next few seasons, but I see it completely the opposite way.

      I used to love seeing the new seasons cars in the first few races and seeing how different innovations played out, even when one team ended up being way better than the rest of the field

      Yep when I read that sentence I thought “me too”. I remember when Ligier came from nowhere to lock out the from row at the first race of the 1979 season in Argentina, it was very exciting, but as always everything changes and in F1 it can happen very quickly. 1979 was no exception. These days if a team gains a big advantage only the other teams with big budgets have a chance to copy and catch up. The less well off teams just have to shrug their shoulders, stay slow, and hope next year will be better.

      Yes the teams with big budgets (and the probably therefore the best designers) will always be at the front, but at least with the new regs, they won’t be so far in front that the midfield teams are able to spring the more than occasional surprise.

      So yes, the new regs may have some negative elements, but consigning the slower teams to the back for all eternity is not one of them.

    3. The consensus is that if Verstappen was leading the 1st round in Silverstone, he would be able to pull a gap and stay ahead. If that’s true only Hungary (Lewis always goes well there) is an anomaly. So even though Mercedes is in a better place since Silverstone, there are no signs yet that that advantage is lasting.

      One last point: it might be that the new tyre construction since Silverstone is more beneficial for one team than another.

      1. It benefits Mercedes surprisingly…

        1. Except Red Bull have said that they don’t think it has helped Mercedes at all.

          According to them, the changes are pretty minor and have not changed the way the tyres behave in a noticeable way – indeed, none of the teams have said that the tyre changes have changed their characteristics in any really noticeable way.

      2. Change in tyre construction in 2013: mercedes started winning
        Change in tyre construction in 2018: mercedes reduced gap from Ferrari
        Change in tyre construction in 2021: mercedes solves all the issues..

        Ok

        1. Not really – for example, in 2018, Giorgio Piola highlighted that it was more of a case of Ferrari going backwards due to them trying out an experimental hydraulic heave damper in an attempt to replicate the designs that Red Bull and Mercedes were using.

          Ferrari later admitted was a failure that ended up causing more set up problems than it solved and was eventually removed from the car – it was also why they then lobbied to have such devices banned in later years.

          Similarly, this year, nobody else has claimed that the tyre changes have changed anything – Red Bull themselves have dismissed the idea out of hand. If anything, they were more surprised at how little impact the changes have had.

    4. Lets see what the second half brings, but it looks like we were robbed by one if the contestants. Lets hope I am wrong and ‘on merit’ prevails.

    5. But not longer-term, only a temporary thing.

      I became more confident about COTA, not that I’ve necessarily been skeptical despite the recent-ish situation.
      An easy solution for avoiding Turkey’s Red List issue would be merely swapping Sochi Autodrom and Istanbul Park weekends around, although perhaps too late for this anymore, since the former is a month away.
      Yes, the French GP weekend changed on the preceding month, but further in advance, so still doable.
      Unfortunately, viable and fitting options for the original Japanese GP weekend are limited.

    6. Judging Mercedes pace based on Silverstone & Hungary feels awkward given their primary opposition was eliminated in both races by their cars. They didn’t make a ‘step forward’ as much as ‘their competition wasn’t there’ – which is generally how Mercedes like it. That said I’ve thought from the start of the year they had issues with their car and when they get on top of them they’ll disappear just like they have for the last long few years so I imagine this phase of the year will be dull on an epic scale. Unless you’re a fan of Mercedes, of course.

    7. Re COTD:

      Given that Brawn has already suggested that they’ll change regulations to prevent any a team from gaining the benefit of something innovative like the double diffuser was, I doubt we’ll see anything like it after a race or two in 2022.

      That’s not really what Brawn has said though is it? IIRC he said that if something innovative turns up on a car that is contrary to what the rules are trying to achieve (i.e cars being able to follow each other/disrupting airflow) then they would consider banning it. Alternatively that they would consider banning something that had little to no performance benefit and large cost implications. He didn’t say they would ban innovations on performance grounds.

      There is going to be a larger field spread next year anyway. There always is in a new reg era as some get it more right than others.

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