Mercedes has explained in more detail the “aggressive” design changes that have resulted in its new W11 2020 Formula 1 car being “streaks ahead” of its predecessor.
While most of the interest surrounding Mercedes has revolved around its dual-axis steering (DAS), technical director James Allison said at last week’s opening pre-season test at Barcelona that was just one update to a car “festooned with innovation”.
In a video the team released on Sunday, Allison said the team decided to be as revolutionary as it could with its design, even though last year’s W10 ended the campaign strongly.
“The temptation for us was just to keep polishing that one, after all it finished the season really strongly and it was developing very fast all the way through the year, so there was still lots of opportunity to make that one quicker,” he said.
“That conservative approach was very, very tempting. But in the end, we decided that wouldn’t be enough.
“We were feeling the breath of our opponents on our shoulders. We know their hunger and we know that if we don’t do something impressive with this car, they will eat us up and leave us behind.
“So, we decided that we would make a car that was aggressive.
“Despite the fact that there is no change in the regulations, we would take every part of the car and see if we could challenge ourselves to make it better.”
Allison added there have been “hundreds” of design changes on the W11, including new front suspension, which offers more aerodynamic opportunity, smaller sidepods to aid airflow, and a bold step with its rear suspension.
“You’re not going to see all the detail, but I can tell you that the rear suspension on this car is extremely adventurous,” he said.
“Specifically on the lower rear wishbone, we have put a new geometry in there, a new geometry that gives us more aerodynamic opportunity, allows us to get more downforce on the car.”
Reflecting on the overall package compared to last year’s W10, Allison said: “We have got a car here that is streaks ahead of that one in terms of downforce.
“We have got a car here whose development slope has kicked up, is steeper than the one that we finished last year’s with, in that very, very good car from 2019.
“And we’ve got a car here that we hope will be fertile ground to develop strongly all the way through the 2020 season.”