Mercedes’ head of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin has admitted that the Silver Arrows will find this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix challenging, due to the circuit’s low-speed corners.
The Brackley-based team have looked good since introducing their new concept at the Monaco Grand Prix, with the Germans having claimed their first double podium since the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix at the recent Spanish Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished second and third respectively at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where the medium and high-speed corners suited the W14’s new concept.
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is somewhat the opposite, due to it boasting low-speed corners and multiple areas of “full throttle”.
With Mercedes lacking straight-line speed, duelling Red Bull isn’t on their radar this weekend, something Shovlin has openly admitted.
Instead, Shovlin is expecting a “battle” against the likes of Ferrari and Aston Martin, with Mercedes also making sure to keep an eye on Alpine.
“The fact is that the update kit works very well around circuits like Barcelona with a lot of high-speed performance,” Shovlin said in Mercedes’ post-race debrief video after the Spanish GP.
“Although, the car itself would have still been okay there because we’ve been better at the fast circuits and the front-limited tracks.
“We ended up with a really good balance and really good race pace. Now, where we are going to go next week, Montreal, it’s a very different circuit.
“There are more low-speed corners, quite a lot of straight-line full throttle and we would expect more of a challenge there.
“We are not thinking that we are going in nipping at the heels of Red Bull. We are going in there prepared for a battle with Ferrari, Aston Martin, and maybe even Alpine.”
Given how close the pack is behind Red Bull, Shovlin is aware that Mercedes could find themselves either on the podium or at the bottom of the top 10, given that there are four teams all very close to one another.
He’s expecting the weekend to be similar to what the field looked like prior to the Germans new concept, meaning Mercedes will likely be stronger on Sunday than during qualifying on Saturday.
“We are thinking it will be more along the lines of some of the earlier races where we were definitely in the bunch with Ferrari, with Aston, and now Alpine look to have joined that group,” Shovlin added.
“It will be good fun and we are certainly going to be fighting to find every little bit of performance we can because the way the grid stacks up now you can be P2 or you can be P10, and there are only a few tenths in it.
“We are looking forward to more exciting racing but certainly we are aware that Canada is likely to be a bigger challenge than the Sunday we just had in Barcelona.”