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Formula 1 Emilia Romagna GP

Mercedes no longer “zig-zagging” in hunt for an F1 magic bullet

Mercedes says it is no longer “zig-zagging” in its upgrade approach, after accepting that there is no magic-bullet solution that will shoot it to the front of Formula 1.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15
The German manufacturer is working on a new development direction for its next update package, which it hopes will deliver a better balance for its car in both high- and low-speed corners.
It has been working on having new components ready for the Canadian Grand Prix next month, but there remains a chance that items could be fast-tracked to Monaco if they are ready early.
Lewis Hamilton recently expressed some optimism about the progress that could be on the table with the changes, having tried them out in the Mercedes simulator.
And, after many false dawns over the past two and a half years when Mercedes had high hopes for upgrades that ultimately did not deliver long-term performance gains, there appears to be a genuine feeling that things are different this time.
Team boss Toto Wolff suggests this is the result of the team accepting that there is no single step solution that will transform its pace. Instead, it is more about consistent progress.
"I think what we are seeing in the car now is that those incremental gains that we are bringing, rather than a miracle update, are getting the car in a better balance window and making the car just have more performance,” explained Wolff.
“It is these things where you gain a tenth or a tenth and a half and, at the same time, the other teams are making progress.
Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, on the pit wall

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, on the pit wall

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

“So, we are on a trajectory where we are making the car better. We can see that. It is never like a share price that goes up [in a straight line], it will go up like this [with peaks and troughs]. As long as the direction is correct, I feel more confident now."
Asked if it had been a mistake in the past to think that there was a magic-bullet solution, Wolff said: “Yeah, I think we never had such clear indications like we have had in the last few races where we really saw the car was either going fast in the higher-speed or lower-speed, but never both together. That is something we are able now to slowly dial out."
Wolff explained that what was particularly different about the Mercedes approach now was that it finally had a confirmed direction to head in.
“There has been the zig-zagging over the last few years, and there have been these false dawns, absolutely,” he said.
“I think there is a fundamental thing that we haven't spotted what we should have. That's why there is more confidence at the moment.
“But having said that, nothing in this sport is [taken] for granted. We are where we are, it is not good enough, you can hear it in my voice, I am angry. We have just got to do a better job."
Mercedes F1 W15 rear detail

Mercedes F1 W15 rear detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes also introduced a new bi-plane beam wing layout, with a more traditional lower element paired with an upper element that's contorted across its span to allow the element to still be involved in generating downforce in the central section, whilst being mindful of how it's offloaded as it meets with the endplate.

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