Mercedes warn improvement limits might lock in Pink Bull’s benefit this yr · RaceFans


Mercedes trackside efficiency engineer Andrew Shovlin says the workforce might not have the ability to out-develop Pink Bull due to new restrictions launched for the 2021 F1 season.

Pink Bull beat the world champions to pole place by almost four-tenths of a second in Bahrain. Whereas Lewis Hamilton took a slender win for Mercedes within the race, it was aided by Max Verstappen experiencing a differential drawback on his automotive.

Shovlin is anxious Mercedes received’t have the ability to overcome Pink Bull’s core pace benefit this yr. The world champions have been hit hardest by new aerodynamic improvement restrictions that are linked to groups’ 2020 championship positions. Groups are additionally restricted to at least one specification of energy unit this yr, stopping them from introducing upgrades.

“The important thing factor this season is it’s totally different,” stated Shovlin. “Usually you’ll look to the wind tunnel to attempt to simply placed on a little bit of downforce over the course of the yr. You’d additionally have a look at energy unit, attempt to discover a little bit of energy. However each of these are very restricted by regulation.

“So we’ve little or no time within the wind tunnel. The dyno can be closely restricted, you possibly can’t develop the engine for efficiency this yr.”

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Mercedes is due to this fact exploring different methods to turn into extra aggressive. “We’re having to take a look at extra delicate areas to do with driveability traits,” Shovlin defined. “I believe additionally arriving on the circuit with the automotive well-sorted, well-balanced, doing all your homework, figuring out how lengthy the tyres will run [will help].

“This season, this championship is definitely going to come back all the way down to the fantastic margins, I believe, greater than regular. I don’t see us actually having the ability to develop to a degree the place we might get clear forward and hopefully Pink Bull received’t develop to a degree the place they’re clear forward.”

Pink Bull have been no slower than Mercedes at any level on the Bahrain Worldwide Circuit, stated Shovlin.

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“We don’t actually have any strengths relative to them, is what I might say. We’ve had lots of years the place we’ve been capable of depend on straight-line pace or high-speed cornering or interconnected corners. For those who have a look at it right here, we weren’t taking any trip of them wherever.

“There have been a few corners they actually took chunks out of us in qualifying: the high-speed, additionally flip 9 and 10, they have been very robust there. And that’s actually the primary factor is you suppose qualifying we’re simply bang on their tempo in our greatest corners they usually’re faster within the others. So we’d like a sooner automotive. Easy as that.”

Whereas all groups lapped slower in Bahrain than they’d carried out the yr earlier than, Mercedes misplaced way more floor than their rivals. This is because of new rules lowering rear flooring dimensions to chop downforce, that are suspected to have hit low-rake vehicles just like the Mercedes more durable than Pink Bull’s high-rake design.

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Shovlin stated “it might be the case” that low-rake vehicles suffered extra below the brand new guidelines. “I do know that they received the final race [of 2020] however usually we have been forward on the finish of the yr and that’s not the case now. So both we took an even bigger hit with the principles or they’d a greater price of improvement since they utilized the regulation adjustments.

“However it’s what it’s. We’ve bought a automotive that might win a championship if we make some intelligent selections, do some good work with it and function effectively over the yr. However whether or not or not it’s high-rake or low-rake, we will’t do something about that.

“What we actually can’t do is all of a sudden say ‘we’re going to carry the rear of our automotive 30 millimetres and work with that’ as a result of that might write off the season. We might lose a lot in doing that to get better it, it’s simply not sensible.”

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