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Not a “Step Forward”: Despite Performance Boost, Two Core Issues Plague Mercedes Development

Aishwary Gaonkar

Not a "Step Forward": Despite Performance Boost, Two Core Issues Plague Mercedes Development

It has been the same recurring story for Mercedes in 2024. The W15 is throwing up similar concerns as its previous two ground effect predecessors and it is not helping the Silver Arrows move up the pecking order. At the Miami GP, the Brackley team brought some upgrades, but it did not seemingly give them a significant uptick. The team’s trackside engineering director, Andrew Shovlin, has pointed out two core issues that are preventing them from making progress.

In the Miami GP Debrief video on Mercedes’ YouTube channel, Shovlin explained, “The issue at the moment is everyone else is developing their cars. So, you saw McLaren with a big package and they look to have moved forward.”

He then also added how the W15 also has a few “handling issues” that were prevalent in the W14 as well. Shovlin mentioned that these handling issues are “making it really hard to see all that performance as a straight sort of step forward.”

The first issue that Shovlin highlighted becomes a moot point, as rival teams will keep on improving in the developmental race throughout the season. It seems odd how Mercedes are not able to keep up and lose in the car development battle, something they have done exceptionally well in the late 2010s.

Meanwhile, the handling issues are a problem of their own making. It seems plausible that these issues are limiting Mercedes from bringing effective upgrades as the car is not in an ideal and stable state to respond well to these upgrades.

At this stage, Mercedes need to make a desperate push to make the 2024 car better. Or else, they will have to shift its focus to next season’s car and return to the drawing board. However, Toto Wolff is still not willing to give up hope.

Toto Wolff assures how Mercedes is pushing really hard to overturn the 2024 car

Toto Wolff has been the optimist of the Mercedes squad, despite such tough times in the past three years. With the 2024 car struggling as well, the Austrian is still not willing to give up hopes in overturning the team’s form.

As Shovlin explained that the Miami GP floor upgrades did not work due to some fundamental issues, Wolff acknowledged the same. However, the Mercedes team principal has assured that they know and understand these issues and their cause.

According to Motorsport Week, Wolff said, “I think we understand much more what is needed to get the car in a better place because it’s so clear now what it does and why we struggle and where we struggle”.

The 52-year-old mentioned how both factories of the German team are working  “flat out”.  He said, “All of the factories are really sixth gear in order to bring stuff to the car that we believe can be very helpful”.

Regardless, Mercedes desperately need results on track, as their effort has unquestionably been there to improve their position in the pecking order since 2022. The real issue is how they are steadily losing ground to teams like McLaren and Ferrari every season.

Currently, the Brackley outfit is fourth in the constructor’s standings, which is two places worse than its second-place finish in 2023. If they cannot catch up with Ferrari in P2, that would be quite a disappointment for Wolff and Co. in 2024.

Post Edited By:Vidit Dhawan

About the author

Aishwary Gaonkar

Aishwary Gaonkar


Aishwary Gaonkar is the F1 Editor at The SportsRush. Having written over 757 articles about different aspects of the sport, Aishwary passionately likes to dive deep into the intricacies of the on-track events. He has been an avid F1 fan since the 2011 season, amid Sebastian Vettel's dominance. Besides the 4-time champion, he also likes Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. Among the current drivers, he thinks Charles Leclerc and Oscar Piastri have championship-winning caliber. Longing for a Ferrari world championship, Aishwary is also a fan of Aston Martin's underdog story and their bid to win the F1 championship. Other than F1, he follows tennis and cricket too.

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