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2012 rules play into Mercedes hands

NEWS STORY
19/10/2011

Mat Coch writes:

The 2012 Mercedes will feature a number of different design concepts compared to the team's 2011 contender, claims team boss Ross Brawn.

Looking to claw back some of the advantage held by the top three teams, Brawn believes a reinterpretation of exhaust regulations will allow the team to become regular front runners.

Some of the car's current lack of pace is a result of the team being too slow to adopt an exhaust blown diffuser, the Englishman admitted. "The exhaust blown diffuser, or the technologies around the exhaust, we possibly didn't get on to early enough in terms of the implications it has with the car layout," he said.

Much of the problem can be traced back to the 2010 season, when development on the current car began. Initially designed without an exhaust-blown diffuser the car has been adapted to accommodate the latest development trend, but has always been found wanting in comparison to other teams who incorporated the concept into their current designs from day one. "There were certain things we did to optimise the car without those technologies which perhaps we wouldn't have done with those technologies. You're balancing aerodynamics, weight distribution, centre of gravity, all those sort of things.

"We're about six months out of phase. If we had six months' worth of performance developments on the car now we'd be looking a lot better, so really that's what we're trying to do."
Now in its second year of team ownership it's unlikely Mercedes will tolerate mediocrity forever. The outfit has strengthened its technical department with a number of recent signings to key positions, a clear indication the team wants - and needs - to improve.

"We're still trying very hard," Brawn admits. "Interestingly we kind of do our analysis after each race and generally we're clawing it back slowly, obviously not as quickly as we'd like because I think there's some pretty intense competition at the front. They're working ferociously to improve their situation and we're trying to catch up. In terms of normalised lap time where we take account of tyres, fuel, all sorts of things, we have reduced the gap but not enough."

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