Mercedes’ returning technical officer James Allison has confirmed that the Silver Arrows will have upgrades for this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, a circuit which left the team with nightmares 12 months ago.
Whilst Mercedes claimed a podium at the Baku City Circuit last season, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton suffered from extreme porpoising, leaving Hamilton in particular with severe spinal pain.
Fast forward 12 months and porpoising thankfully isn’t a concern, whereas catching Red Bull is.
This weekend will mark Allison’s first weekend back as the team’s technical officer, after himself and Mike Elliott switched positions.
Elliott has moved into Allison’s chief technical officer role, whilst Allison has gone the other way.
The reasoning behind the switch is the belief that the duo are best suited to each other’s job, with the hope being that Allison will be able to extract more performance from the W14.
Allison recently discussed the W14 and how the team will view it as “weak” until “it’s the quickest” on the grid, something which will require an incredible amount of work.
“It’s reliable, that’s a definite strength,” Allison told the F1 Nation podcast, when asked about the W14’s characteristics.
“It’s got very good pair of punters peddling it around. It’s better than most of the grid out there. But until it’s the quickest one, it will always feel like a weak car to all of us.
“It’s adequately kind to its tyres, but not as good as some of the cars that we’ve made in the past. It’s got more downforce than most of the cars on the grid, but not sufficient. Its handling characteristics leave a little to be desired, and need to be worked on for sure.
“But none of this stuff is revelatory. We’ve been talking about it most weekends. And it’s part of what this team needs to address to get winning material back in our hands.”
In a bid to return to the front, substantial upgrades are expected across the next few races, including a completely new concept at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Allison confirmed that updates will be seen in the coming races, including in Baku this weekend.
“The flow of new parts has already happened,” Allison said.
“You pretty much have a different car every weekend you take it racing. Sometimes it’s a few more parts, sometimes a few fewer. But we’ve had new things for each of the races.
“Baku won’t be any exception, and I would hope that we can keep that coming. You’re constrained by cost caps and stuff eventually.
“But we’re at a stage in the season where there’s still plenty of firepower there to keep putting lap time on the car weekend by weekend.”