Over the past 2 seasons Mercedes has caused a sensation first by bringing the W13, a “size zero” car as far as bellies are concerned, then by disavowing this idea after also pursuing it on the next single-seater, the W14.
Seeing the cars of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell with prominent bellies after racing with an opposite philosophy had a certain effect. In Munich, nothing seemed to have worked out. But a week later Mercedes returned to Brackley with an encouraging double podium.
The best aspect, apart from the result, is having had a very strong and constant race pace on the Montmelo track, home of the Spanish Grand Prix, with all the compounds used. A Mercedes second strength and with two more bellies. Yet, according to George Russell, the two most eye-catching novelties – the bellies, in fact – are not the magic touch that allowed the Black Arrows to change gears over the weekend that has just ended.
The British pilot spoke of “magic” to be sought elsewhere. To be precise in the work done on the bottom of the W14. Yes, because in addition to the new bellies, the German team has brought new front suspension and a newly designed bottom. And the secret seems to be this last aspect.
“It’s not the bellies that make the difference. Maybe they can be one of the factors, but the magic isn’t in that part of the car,” said Russell at the end of the Spanish Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, second place, sprays George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, third place, with Champagne on the podium
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
“We decided to add bellies to the W14 project precisely to exclude this idea. The magic was done under the car, in the back. And it’s the same for every single-seater”.
“I’m sure that if Red Bull took the bellies off their car, it would still be the fastest car. Then, of course, things are more complex than that. But I’m still very happy with the work done by the team. The Barcelona result confirms that progress has been made and in the right direction”.
According to Toto Wolff, Mercedes was 2 or 3 tenths away from Red Bull on the track which is located a few kilometers from Barcelona. An obvious improvement, but Mercedes’ goal remains to win. That’s why further progress will have to be made already in Canada, in two weeks’ time. Meanwhile, Russell enjoys the fact that he can push in the race without thinking about anything else.
“Our goal remains to win. In Barcelona I was confident that we could really progress. The race pace was really good with the new updates. In qualifying I was very disappointed with the result, but I think what we saw at the Montmelo weekend proves that we must continue to believe in our work,” concluded the former Williams driver.
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