Mercedes plans final 2021 F1 car update for British Grand Prix

Mercedes will bring the final update for its 2021 Formula 1 car to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone later this month.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Mercedes is currently facing its toughest challenge yet in the V6 hybrid era in the form of Red Bull, which leads both championships and has won all of the last four races.

Max Verstappen sits 18 points clear of Lewis Hamilton at the top of the drivers’ standings, while Red Bull is 40 ahead of Mercedes in the constructors’ championship.

Hamilton said after his defeat to Verstappen in Austria last Sunday that Mercedes “need an upgrade” to find more performance after seeing Red Bull pull ahead on outright pace.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff revealed after the race that development had stopped on the W12 car for this year, but technical chief James Allison later added that already-completed updates were still to be added.

Speaking on Sky Sports F1 following second practice for the Austrian Grand Prix on Friday, Wolff was asked if the heavy use of flo-vis in the session had anything to do with a new design direction or philosophy being evaluated in the wind tunnel.

“No, the wind tunnel doesn’t work any more on this year’s car,” Wolff explained.

“It’s basically understanding some of the flow that we can still look at in CFD, but there’s not going to be big part changes.

“There is one more development that is going to come onto the car at Silverstone, but [the wind tunnel has] been down obviously for a long time.”

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The decision to end development on the 2021 car comes as Mercedes shifts focus and resources to the 2022 design, which will be the first under the heavily-revised technical regulations.

Wolff has previously explained that the gains on offer for 2022 and beyond outweighed the short-term benefits of continuing work on the 2021 car, even with the potential consequences for this year’s title race.

Hamilton said on Thursday that he knew the update was still planned for the W12 car, but that he was hopeful his home grand prix at Silverstone would suit Mercedes better than the Red Bull Ring.

“It's a different track, a different surface,” Hamilton said.

“Obviously it has got lots of straights, which Red Bull is particularly strong at the moment.

“However, I'm hopeful that it will be a decent hunting ground for us.”

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