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Mercedes explains how W12 can improve after development confusion

Mercedes explains how W12 can improve after development confusion

F1 News

Mercedes explains how W12 can improve after development confusion

Mercedes explains how W12 can improve after development confusion

Mercedes strategy director James Vowles has given an explanation as to how the team can improve the W12 to fight Red Bull for the title this year.

Mercedes' dominance in F1 is under threat from Red Bull and Max Verstappen, who extended both championship leads at the Styrian Grand Prix last weekend, with more pain expected to come at the same circuit at the Austrian Grand Prix this week.

Lewis Hamilton called for upgrades immediately after the race had finished having been beaten comfortably by his Dutch rival, although team principal Toto Wolff insisted development for this year's car had been halted.

The situation was further complicated by technical director James Allison, who suggested small improvements would be added over the coming races.

Now, Vowles has explained exactly how the team can improve the car, both with upgrades and without.

"This package has a number of ways that we can improve it," said Vowles. "We still have more performance that we can add to it and aerodynamic improvements are just one facet of car performance.

"We have other elements of this car that we can add performance to and that we are continuously doing so.

"Furthermore, you can always optimise and improve the package you have. You don't normally extract everything out of it from the word go. Every time you run on track and get more and more information and data, you learn a little bit more about how you use the car and how you use the tyres and how to optimise the package together.

"The result of that is yes, in terms of big aerodynamic upgrades, will they be reduced for us - but not just us, all teams this year - I suspect so.

"However, that doesn't mean that the car performance will be static and staying where it is and it also doesn't mean that just because at this one event we had a deficit to Red Bull, that will be maintained across the season."

Austria not "the strongest track for us"

The 35-second gap between Verstappen would have alarmed the Mercedes hierarchy given the tight nature of the battle between the two teams all season long, although the gap was skewed by Hamilton's late stop in order to claim the fastest lap.

However, Vowles indicated the Red Bull Ring is a weaker venue for the team and that the team will do everything it can to secure an eighth-consecutive constructors title.

"There are a few elements of Austria - first of all, it is at a higher altitude, it does change things somewhat. Second of all, year on year it hasn't necessarily been the strongest track for us," he added.

"You take those into account when you look at the broad season we have coming up and the different circuit characteristics we have coming up.

On the radical changes to the cars for 2022, Vowles commented: "I think it is fair to say that the regulations for next year, especially under a cost cap, are going to be challenging for every single team.

"There is a trade-off. For every millisecond you put on this car, you are probably losing the same, or more, on next year's car. That trade-off will be difficult to make for every team up and down the grid.

"But here is what we can promise. We are here to fight for this year's championship as much as we are next year's and until it is over, we will be fighting with all of our heart until the end of this season."

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