January 11, 2023

Mercedes was ‘absolutely desperate’ to perform in British GP

The Brackley-based team had arrived at Silverstone off the back of a run of five consecutive Red Bull victories that had allowed its main rival to extend leads in both world championships.

So it knew it was under pressure at a track that should better suit its package to turn the tables on Red Bull and get itself firmly back in the title fight.

After Lewis Hamilton duly delivered a spectacular victory, despite a controversial crash with Max Verstappen, the team admitted that it felt the pressure before the weekend about how significant a weekend it was going to be.

Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said: “I think the big one for us was really that we brought an update kit to the car, we’re going to a circuit that’s historically suited our car very well – certainly suited Lewis very well – and the bit that was quite frightening coming in was, if we didn’t perform well here, we were going to have to have a long, hard look at ourselves.

“Aside from the championship situation and the points that are at stake, the need that we had to make sure that gap wasn’t going to grow any further.

“I think the big one was just that we were absolutely desperate to see the car perform well, and the team perform well. So it’s hugely reassuring to have been able to demonstrate we’re still in the fight for the championship.”

The Mercedes upgrade was quite extensive, featuring modifications to the wheel areas, the bargeboards and floor. 

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James Allison, chief technology director, believed that the pace that helped Hamilton be fastest in qualifying showed that the developments had worked.

“We brought a decent aero package to the track, we definitely saw an improvement in our performance and we were very happy with it,” he explained.

“You could see that just relative to the field we had moved forward this weekend, we were able to close some ground on Red Bull and we were able to have a more competitive weekend as a result

“So, we came home from the weekend pretty chipper about the upgrade. Is there any more to come? There may be, here and there but the vast sort of, the main industrial effort of our development programme, that was the last big package that we will bring this year.

“There will be a few tweaks here and there where we can see efficiently that we can bring some performance without distracting us from the big effort that is now going into next year’s car.”

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