Mercedes’ Technical Director James Allison says the team had to be aggressive with the design of its W11 in order to stay clear of the chasing pack.
The W11 was the centre of attention in the Barcelona paddock during the first pre-season test of 2020, thanks largely to the DAS (Dual-Axis Steering) system, as well as a revised rear suspension layout.
Formula 1’s technical regulations have remained largely unchanged year-on-year ahead of the impending overhaul of the sport in 2021.
“The temptation for us was just to keep polishing the W10,” said Allison.
“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.
“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 also explained how Mercedes has made a step forward with its power unit in both speed and internal design which will benefit the overall aero and cooling package.
“In the middle of the car, a huge, huge effort gone in by HPP [High Performance Powertrains] to put more performance into the PU,” he added.
“They have managed to have a really good winter, finding lots and lots of fresh horses from this Power Unit, many years into a regulation with fixed fuel flow, this year they have managed to find a really impressive upgrade in the power.
“Not just more horsepower. They have also for the third year straight bent over backwards to give us a Power Unit that gives opportunities on the chassis side to develop better aerodynamics.
“Because they have put a lot of work in to make it so that this Power Unit can operate at elevated temperatures compared to the previous year.
“Being able to run hotter means that for the same everything else, we can make smaller radiators in the car and keep the car cool. One of the reasons why this car is even slimmer than the ones that we have seen in previous seasons.
“Last year’s chassis would have stuck way out the side, but this year’s one, narrower still, as a result of the investments that HPP made on our behalf in their power unit.”