Mercedes run ‘high-load’ package at Paul Ricard ahead of Barcelona upgrades

Mercedes are introducing upgrades to their W13 at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, and they tried them out in France this week.

Mercedes have conducted a filming day at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France after placing the upgrades they will use for the Spanish Grand Prix on the car.

George Russell was sent out onto the circuit to complete some running in the car that features a higher exhaust, wing beam, a more exaggerated fin on the back of the engine cover, and a revised wing with a slightly larger surface area.

They appeared to be testing out the new floor that they hope will limit their “pospoising,” and the “high-load” setup, as journalist Giuliano Duchessa put it, is aimed at maximising the fast corners in Barcelona this weekend as opposed to the long straights and slow corners in Miami at the last race.

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Mercedes’ day out follows on from Ferrari’s filming day in Monza, and the same rules apply to the “promotional event.”

They have now used one of their allocated two filming days, and no more than 100km of running can be completed during one of those days, as per article 10.4 of the sporting regulations.

The danger of exceeding that distance was the reason Charles Leclerc was forced to grind to a halt on track in Italy.

After the test, Mercedes packed up and made the six-hour journey south to Barcelona.

“Filming day [done], straight on the [plane] to Barcelona,” they tweeted.

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The car the Silver Arrows used did not appear to sport any alterations to the sidepods, and this is because team principal Toto Wolff is determined to discover how they make can make the current iteration work, and returning to the scene of the first pre-season test will be a good opportunity to compare the skinny sidepods to the orthodox setup they initially used.

“I think we can find chunks and chunks of lap time if we can just find that killer key to get it in that perfect spot,” he said, quoted by the Express.

“I’m not sure if that will be the next race but the guys are working day and night back at the factory and we all believe we can.

“We have to stick to our guns, keep pushing down this direction. It will be a number of races before we say we have to go a different way, but I believe in them.”

Wolff has recently described the W13 as a “diva,” but Russell recently affirmed that this is an “understatement.”

“[The performance is] there; we just need to try and unlock it. Toto’s throwing the word diva around a lot, but I think that’s a bit of an understatement because it’s so unpredictable,” he said.

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“When the thing just starts bouncing in the corners, it’s a killer to drive. [In the race] it wasn’t as bad; when you’re not in your full quali mode, you’re not going quite as quick, but it certainly wasn’t great.”

The majority of the teams are confirmed to be bringing upgrades to the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend as the development race heats up amid F1’s return to Europe.