Mercedes Chief Technical Officer Mike Elliott has conceded the team fell into a “trap” with F1’s ground-effect aerodynamic regulations.
The sport introduced a new set of technical regulations at the start of last season, with the Silver Arrows initially struggling to piece together its understanding of the W13.
After a number of struggles in the early part of the year, progress was made with upgrades late in the year which allowed George Russell to pick up his maiden F1 victory in Brazil.
But Mercedes continues to find difficulty in putting its car into an operating window despite a shift to a different design concept with its Spanish Grand Prix upgrade this term, with mechanical bouncing returning for Russell and Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix.
“If you were to go back to the old regulations, you could put the car where you wanted to put it, you had big travel in the suspension which allowed you to shape the balance a but better through the corners,” explained Elliott, speaking to media including RacingNews365.
“You weren’t limited by stiffness, you could chase where the aerodynamic performance was in the regulations.
“With these cars, aerodynamically, they want to run close to the ground. If you run them close to the ground, you have got to run them stiff.
“That is one of the traps we fell into last year if we are honest.
“There is always going top be that balance you have on this set of regulations: you’ve got guys that want to run really close to the ground… how do you get that balance right?”
Pick a direction
Explaining the difficulties facing Mercedes in attempting to overcome its deficits, Elliott added: “If you look at the aero testing restrictions, you have got so limited number of runs that you’ve got to pick a direction and go for it.
“It’s really hard to… if you go down the route of saying ‘I want to develop a car for higher ride heights, one for low ride heights’ and I want to cover all my bases, suddenly you’d be doing three runs a week on each one and going nowhere.
“So you have got to pick a direction and go in it and as you learn, you can tweak that direction and move it slightly.
“I’d like to think we’ve sort of got ourselves into the right place.”