New parts to solve Mercedes’ porpoising ‘maybe as soon as Miami’

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Imola may have been a wretched weekend for Mercedes but Andy Shovlin is encouraging the team by saying they are “moving forward”, and that they “are learning” even in the midst of their woes.

Mercedes had a difficult time at Imola as both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton bounced their way around the Italian circuit.

Russell managed to score points, P4 in a grand prix that left him with a sore back and chest pain, but Hamilton was down in 13th place and notably unhappy with the situation.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff says the team has to find the key to unlock the W13’s potential but up until now has been worried that introducing new parts will only confuse the team.

But with Shovlin, Mercedes’ trackside engineering director, adamant they now know enough about their W13, he says those parts could come as early as the next race, the Miami GP.

“We are moving forward, we are learning more about it and hopefully, soon, maybe as soon as Miami, we can start to bring some parts to the car that will hopefully give us an indication on whether we are moving in the right direction,” said Shovlin in a video released by the Mercedes team.

“We are not expecting to solve this overnight, but if we can get a clue that we are going in the right direction, that we really got to the bottom of what is going on, then we will be quite pleased that we are just moving on the right path.”

Mercedes’ biggest problem is the porpoising, the team unable to run the car in the optimum window because of it.

The Brackley squad is having to raise the ride height in order to minimise the bouncing but that means they are losing downforce, and pace.

Shovlin is hoping that by eradicating the porpoising, the team can lower the car and find that extra lap time they are sorely missing.

“It’s obviously a bit of a cliche, but the reality is that we can’t run the car where we designed it to run,” said Shovlin.

“We’re having to run it at higher ride heights and by running higher ride heights, it’s got less performance.

“Now, that might be true for almost every car on the grid, lots of people are suffering with this problem and we know that lifting the car is a way of alleviating it.

“A lot of the work that’s gone on in Brackley, has been to understand the phenomenon and whether we can control it, whether we can engineer it out of the car.

“When Toto talks about finding the key, what he’s really talking about is, is there an aerodynamic solution that we can apply to this solution that will make this problem go away?

 

“Now, realistically, we think this will be something we approach in steps, rather than one big moment where the whole thing vanishes.

“But we’re seeing encouraging signs, we’re hoping to bring parts to the car soon, maybe even Miami, where we can hopefully see progress on this issue.”

Mercedes are third in the Constructors’ Championship, 47 points behind Ferrari.

The last time the Brackley squad did not win one of the opening four races was back in 2013, that season their first win only came at round six.

 

 





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