Austrian Grand Prix – Mercedes will run their W11 with updates for the season opening race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
Despite Formula 1 being almost completely shut down since the coronavirus global outbreak in the middle of March, Mercedes intend to run updates on their W11 for the first race in Austria.
Despite the car tested in Barcelona back in February still being unraced, Mercedes are using the factory time between re-opening and the first race to push through some updates that had already been in the pipeline. This is on top of the introduction of the ‘DAS’ steering system that was tested in Barcelona, but has yet to race.
Speaking ahead of the season, Technical Director James Allison explained some of what’s been going on at the reigning Champions as the season gears up to begin.
“We haven’t yet done a single race but, actually, quite a lot of time has passed since we launched this car and if you imagine where the launch car was and the car that would have gone to Australia – that was frozen around about Christmas so there was the whole of January, the whole of February and March all making the car quicker in the wind tunnel, and also in the design departments.
“So, we’ve got quite a lot of ideas about how to make it quicker and quite a lot of those ideas were already in train in process through the design office before we were forced to shut down nine weeks ago, so our challenge now is to make sure that that quarter of a year of development can get off the drawing boards and onto the car as swiftly as possible.”
“We hope to have a chunk of that for the first race in Austria, and the season that follows will of course take as much of the development as fast as we can get it onto the car in turn.”
Mercedes carried out a two day test at Silverstone last week, using their 2018 car and both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas had a day at the wheel. Allison says the team are fully focussed on making sure they’re ‘fighting fit’ to start the delayed season.
“The first race in Austria feels desperately close to us, so we’re truly paranoid now to use the few weeks we have ahead of us to make sure that the interruption doesn’t throw us off our normal balance and poise and that we do get everything back up to the sort of ramming speed that we have at the end of winter testing and prior to the first race of a normal season.” Allison explained. “So all of our efforts are around ramping that back up, turning all the systems back on and making sure we’ve blown away all the cobwebs and that we’re fighting fit and good to go by the time we hit Austria.”
“I suspect mentally it’s tougher for the drivers than for the team this period of waiting because for the drivers all of the peaks of emotion are amplified the highs are high and the lows are lower and to get yourself all ready to go at the start of a season and then have it taken away from you the way that it was back in Melbourne.” continued Allison. “That’s tough I think for the drivers to take but it will be a sign of their resilience and their competitiveness to see them bristle back to work full of the vim and vigor that is necessary to be right on it from the start and I’ve little doubt that both Lewis and Val tree will be ready to go when it when it matters in Austria.”