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Formula 1 Monaco GP

Mercedes still needs to dial out “nasty” rear end of F1 car

Mercedes still needs to dial out a “nasty” rear end on its W14 Formula 1 car, despite the progress it feels it has made with its new upgrade.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

The German manufacturer introduced a major update at the Monaco Grand Prix, which included new sidepods, revised front suspension and floor tweaks.

While the nature of the Monte Carlo street track meant it was hard to gauge exactly how much of a step forward the new parts delivered, the team was encouraged by the first signs from the changes.

However, team principal Toto Wolff says that a key aspect that now needs addressing is in sorting out an improved balance at the rear of the car.

This characteristic has caused problems for both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell this year, and means they sometimes lack the confidence they need when attacking corners.

Speaking about the conclusions of the upgrades, Wolff said: “The car felt together, which is important, but it’s still a bit nasty on the rear. So that's something which we need to dial out of the car for the next few races.

“But we have a new baseline and that's important to say: ‘Okay, this is what we have now.' We've taken questions off the table where we weren't sure of, be it the front suspension or the extravaganza of our bodywork. So, let's work from here.

“We're good at grinding away and the work that was done in the factories to bring that update here to Monaco from our team, it was really a big effort.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

This weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix will provide a much better opportunity for Mercedes to understand its upgrade, with the medium and high-speed demands of the Barcelona circuit perfect for evaluating aerodynamic performance.

Wolff does not think the team will get all the answers it needs straight away though, as he thinks it will take some time for the team to place the car in the operating window it needs to challenge Red Bull.

“I think Barcelona is not enough,” he said. “I think we need to collect data. That's why we put it also here in Monaco, and to collect further analysis which we will do in Barcelona. The next one, Montreal, is a little bit of an outlier again.

“But over the next races hopefully we can really increase the performance of the car. But it's not going to suddenly be right there.

“That's why I'm actually pleased with the time gap that we had in Monaco. It was always a mediocre track for us, so that’s okay.”

While the changes at Mercedes did not deliver a step change in performance to threaten Red Bull, Hamilton said he had no doubts that the W14 is now in a better place.

“I feel like the car has progressed, it's moved forwards,” he said. “I think next week we'll get a much better feel for it in a place where we can really push through all the medium and high-speed corners. I think overall it's been a positive for us.”

Additional reporting by Matt Kew and Megan White

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