Mercedes will bring further upgrades to their W14, but the team’s focus is now on the design of next year’s car.
Mercedes’ design direction has changed dramatically this season, having dropped its ‘zero-sidepod’ approach with an upgrade at the Monaco Grand Prix.
“In terms of what we’re trying to learn, what we’re trying to achieve, I think we can get that learning on this year’s car,” said Elliott.
“We’ve got to put the focus into the winter development, making sure we’ve understood all the lessons we can from this year’s car and then turn that into the right things for next year.”
There are minimal changes to Formula 1’s aerodynamic regulations for 2024, meaning updates being introduced to their car later this year can remain relevant to their 2024 design. But due to the Aerodynamic Testing Restrictions, the 2023 cars can not act as a test bed to try out a great variety of different ideas.
“You have to sort of pick a direction and go in it, and as you learn, you can tweak that direction, move it slightly. And I’d like to think we’ve sort of got ourselves into the right place for the winter,” explained Elliott.
“I think there’s still learning we can do, and there’s still P2 to fight for in the championship, so we’ll keep developing. But obviously our prime focus now is next year’s car.”
Elliott reckons the fight to finish second this season – with Mercedes currently holding an advantage of 51 points over Aston Martin in third – will not be a distraction in terms of development time and resources, now that they have committed themselves to focusing on 2024.
“I think when you look at trying to develop a brand new car, when you’re making architectural changes, it’s hard to sort of keep that pace in the [wind] tunnel. So in actual fact, some of the running we’re doing for this year’s car is just helpful learning, and it’s helpful learning at the track without really hindering next year’s car.”
There will still be further upgrades to the W14 after the summer break, Elliott says.
“Obviously, we brought a package here [to Spa]. There’s still some more to come, but I can’t say how much.”
Mercedes’ drivers complained their upgraded car bouncing during the Belgian GP as it was run at a low ride-height, with the issue believed to be down to a lack of set up optimisation.
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2023 Belgian Grand Prix
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