A PER­FECT MERC?

Pace­set­ting team strives to be even bet­ter in 2016

Motor Sport News - - F1 2016 Mercedes -

Aside from the re­vised colour scheme, you could be for­given for think­ing Mercedes has sim­ply re-stick­ered its 2015 car as it be­gins its search for a third sea­son of dom­i­na­tion.

With the tech­ni­cal reg­u­la­tions stay­ing largely sta­ble for this year – bar­ring some new leg­is­la­tion that re­quires larger driver head pro­tec­tion, as is vis­i­ble by the widen­ing of the cock­pit sur­rounds – it’s been hard for Mercedes to im­prove on the near-per­fec­tion of 2015.

In­stead the team has fo­cused on refining the W07 in ev­ery area, ac­cord­ing to team tech­ni­cal chief Paddy Lowe: “Af­ter a highly suc­cess­ful sea­son all round in 2015, our pri­or­ity has been to iden­tify the ar­eas in which we were weak­est and to try to im­prove on those.

“Our ob­jec­tive is ex­cel­lence in all ar­eas and, while we had some fan­tas­tic re­sults last year, there are many ar­eas in which we can still be much bet­ter. We are seek­ing op­ti­mi­sa­tion ab­so­lutely ev­ery­where.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to have a com­plete rev­o­lu­tion when the rules have stayed pretty much the same year on year. But we aim to make mi­nor rev­o­lu­tions wher­ever we can, even within a small con­text. So while the car may look very sim­i­lar to its pre­de­ces­sor from the out­side, un­der­neath there are quite a lot of mini rev­o­lu­tions that make up an over­all evo­lu­tion for the new sea­son.”

The most no­table phys­i­cal change can be found in the air in­take and roll­hoop. Th­ese have been sig­nif­i­cantly widened to im­prove flow to the turbo, and also aid the new, larger – and louder – ex­haust. Mercedes in­sists that it hasn’t held back on power unit de­vel­op­ment ei­ther, freely spend­ing its al­lot­ted de­vel­op­ment to­kens in search of ex­tra ef­fi­ciency in each area of its pace­set­ting en­gine.

Lowe adds that the tight test­ing sched­ule of just eight pre-sea­son test days means the cars will head to Mel­bourne closer to launch spec than ever be­fore.

“We’ve now reached a new min­i­mum in terms of win­ter test­ing, with two banks of four days,” added Lowe. “That’s some­thing the team has been pre­par­ing for by pro­duc­ing bet­ter de­signs and un­der­tak­ing bet­ter prepa­ra­tion and test­ing in the lab so that we’re as well placed as pos­si­ble to hit the ground run­ning.

“Both tests are very close to the first race. This has no­tably re­duced the ex­tent to which we can upgrade the car from ‘launch spec’ to the first-race spec. It’s very dif­fi­cult to find any time for up­grades.”

FE­BRU­ARY 24 2016

TEAM STATS Mercedes Chas­sis F1 W07 Hy­brid En­gine Mercedes PU106C

His­tory Races 127 Wins 45 Poles 53 Fastest laps 38 Teams’ ti­tles 2

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