James Vowles discusses about Mercedes balancing 2021 and 2022 work, while he adds on about the wings they are running, as Christian Horner features on Beyond The Grid podcast talking about the steps Red Bull are to take.
With the crucial discussion on the balance between 2021 and 2022 work, Mercedes are in a fix along with the other F1 teams. While Toto Wolff noted that the shift is almost there, James Allison noted that they will be bringing some update, even if not big enough.
The one step on power unit side will certainly be on reliability, something which Honda did. Explaining a bit further, James Vowles touch on how they are optimising the work at Brackley and Brixworth, to keep them in play for the 2021 F1 season.
“The answer is, 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.
“Further more 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 to use the car, how to use the tyres and how to optimise the package together.
“The result of that is that 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 we will maintained across the season.
“There is 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 and you take those into account, when you look at the broad season that we have coming up and the different circuit characteristics coming up. I think it is fair to say that the regulations next year and especially under a cost cap are going to be challenging for every single team.
“There is a trade off, for every millisecond that you put on this year’s 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 you. 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 the season,” summed up Vowles.
Apart from the upgrades, another hot topic has been the usage of wings. Lewis Hamilton and Wolff has talked about how Red Bull are using the wings to generate enough downforce to keep them ahead, something which Mercedes are unable to.
When asked if Mercedes can do something to gain straightline speed, Vowles explained it is not easy to replicate something, because the wing has to sync with the whole F1 car. Any change on the wing, will require further changes – which is where the difference of low and high rake comes in.
“We have a suite of rear wings available to us, as do Red Bull and as do other teams on the grid,” said Vowles. “You need to, you’ve got circuits like Monaco where you need high downforce, you need the biggest rear wing that you can fill into the legal box and then you’ve goy races like Monza where you need that straight line speed, that’s the optimum balance between downforce and speed. And that’s the key point.
“Each track has its own set of characteristics. You could, of course, have less rear wing and go faster on the straight line but you would be sacrificing cornering performance and not just that. That also comes with effects on degradation, conversely less rear wing allows you perhaps to overtake a little bit more, there is a balance.
“We use simulation tools to run through all of the rear wing settings that we have available to us and come up with an optimum of what we should be running at this track. What we should be running for both overtaking, qualifying and race and in our case, it comes out with the rear wing setting that you see.
“Yes, Red Bull’s is slightly less than ours, but they also rear ride height that is much higher so it is very difficult to compare what drag their car is generating relative to ours. What we know is that with our car, and we have swept through, this where we are running on rear wing is optimal for lap time and ultimately that is what both qualifying and really the race is all about,” summed up Vowles.
While the fight heats up between Mercedes and Red Bull, the F1 Beyond The Grid podcast hosted Horner this weekend, where the Brit spoke at length about the team’s advances and how they are keeping a check between 2021 and 2021 season’s work.
Horner also talked about the growth of Max Verstappen and also how Honda has helped Red Bull to achieve their targets. Additionally, the Japanese manufacturer have also made them think otherwise in the engine business and go solo, without depending on others.
Talking about Horner revealed that Mercedes were pretty much against supplying Red Bull, very similar to Renault, but Ferrari showed interest and they held talks, but it couldn’t pull through eventually. The Brit talked of the past success of the team and also the drivers.
Here’s all on Mercedes and Red Bull on the upgrades
Here’s Lewis Hamilton on some insights where Mercedes are lacking
Here’s Toto Wolff on George Russell’s performance
Here’s Max Verstappen on his brake trouble