GP Racing (UK)
CAR OF THE YEAR
It’s hardly surprising the Mercedes W11 was the resounding winner of this award, as the mighty winning machine of Brackley/brixworth/ Stuttgart rolled on to a record seventh consecutive championship double.
The stats are one thing: 15 pole positions, 13 wins from 17 races, 83% of laps led – but the way Mercedes worked harder than ever to respond to Ferrari’s mid-2019 form is what truly stands out about this work of art. Innovative suspension front and rear, re-engineering of the power unit to make it the best in F1 again, and no stone left unturned in pursuit of refinement to the overall package, which added up to a substantial performance gain.
When the Ferrari engine’s wings were clipped by the FIA, and Red Bull got itself into a spin trying to develop the RB16 after winter testing in Barcelona, a yawning chasm opened between W11 and the rest. Mercedes also made full use of the pandemicenforced factory shutdown, working out ways to improve engine reliability and give star driver Lewis Hamilton the handling characteristics he wanted.
“Last year our car was good through medium and high-speed corners but was quite poor in low-speed corners,” he explained. “The car would not rotate as well as we’d like. I’ve always preferred a more positive front end in the car. But there’s a limitation with these tyres. Last year our car was definitely very, very strong at the rear and the front was a lot more understeery.
“We started this year in winter testing and the car had similar characteristics, and I had some challenges I put to the team in terms of how we set the car up which changed that. We moved the aero balance. That difficulty we had in 2019 with the car rotating – we don’t have that problem anymore.”
“It’s been a great pleasure to see the W11 being pushed to its limits in Valtteri’s and Lewis’s hands. This car looked strong at almost every track and in almost all conditions. It’s been a big improvement over the previous car, which was already very strong. The W11 is the result of a tremendous amount of work in Brixworth and Brackley and I’m very happy that all this hard work was crowned with another championship for the team.”
Andrew Shovlin, trackside engineering director