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Mercedes holding out on upgrades

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16/04/2022

Toto Wolff admits that his team is resisting the urge to introduce upgrades due to the fear of "confusing" the situation.

In a masterpiece of damage limitation, despite its issues - of which, according to George Russell, porpoising accounts for 99% - after three races Mercedes is second in the constructor standings and the Briton is second in the drivers'.

As the European phase of the season gets underway, one would assume that the German team, like most, is looking at upgrades, however Toto Wolff admits that he is resisting such a move until the current issues are resolved, fearing that to introduce upgrades at this stage would only muddy the waters for his engineers.

"We're just learning the car, we're learning the tyres," says the Austrian, according to Motorsport.com. "Nothing we did this weekend has unlocked the aerodynamic potential or has reduced the bouncing.

"We're still at the same place," he admits. "And that's why it doesn't make any sense to bring updates, because you're confusing yourself even more.

"Maybe it's the fact the more downforce you bring, the worse the bouncing gets," he adds. "So we are still learning."

Of course, the team has benefitted from the poor reliability of the Red Bull, and Wolff is fully aware that this is a situation that may not continue, yet while he admits the Brackley-based outfit is currently 'riding its luck', he insists things can get better.

"If I look at it from a mathematical standpoint, in probability, I would probably say that the odds are two to eight," he says. "But this is motor racing and in motor racing, anything can happen. Teams can DNF and if we unlock the potential of the car, we are right back in the game.

"So, as a motor racer, I would say it's probably 40-60... as a mathematician, the odds are worse against us, but third race into the season we're not going to write the title off.

"It's just the current status quo, we are seven-tenths off."

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1. Posted by kenji, 18/04/2022 0:57

"@Mad Matt.... thanks for your response. I have no doubt that both 'teams' of engineers maybe have differing ideas but in a team such as Mercedes surely after all this time time the commonality of performance is all that matters. Your comment re different team is spot on. How refreshing it is, especially in such a transformative year, to see Ferrari doing so well. Leclerc is such an agreeable young chap who just races hard and fair and without all the baggage that some bring to the GP table. McLaren are on the cusp or so it appears and with lotsa luck and hard work they can now improve, markedly. Interesting to see, so far, the margins enjoyed by Norris tumbling. Seidl claimed that Ricci would've finished in front of Norris had he not retired and in Australia he could've passed on many occasions but was, IMOL, told not to? So things are a lot closer and that will be good to watch develop over the season and as for Albon...what a great drive from another of F1's nice guys. Once he gets comfortable and in the zone he can be very very fast. The seasons looking good...."

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2. Posted by Mad Matt, 17/04/2022 15:32

"@kenji In the end I'm just guessing about the "conflict" between engineers... Toto might be lying, exaggerating or poorly expressing himself but I certainly agree that with this year's cost restraints they can't afford to go too far down the wrong road.

Perhaps Toto's reference to upgrades are things they started preparing before deciding to freeze while they sorted out the bouncing....

On the plus side of all of this, it's nice to see a different team out front, it was also nice to see McLaren improving even if it might be track specific, oh and of course it was nice to see Alex Albon pull off a strategy that I have to admit I thought was doomed to failure :-)"

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3. Posted by Superbird70, 17/04/2022 15:20

"Maybe like some F1 fans, there is an internal conflict between aero grip vs. mechanical grip engineers."

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4. Posted by kenji, 17/04/2022 0:55

"@Mad Matt... i was fully aware of the differences brtween the wind tunnel and the actual track. What I was trying to say was that the entire Mercedes team will be aware of what the problem they have is....bouncing/oscillation at specific times plus others not fully specified. Given this fact then how can some of the brainiest engineers develop upgrades for a badly performing car with that knowledge? Given the cost restraints it would be a waste to spend money on upgrades.
Wolff says that he is resisting the introduction of upgrades. That indicates that upgrades have either been developed or they have upgrades just waiting to be introduced."

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5. Posted by Superbird70, 17/04/2022 0:07

"They can model the aerodynamic part of the car movement but not how it reacts to the asphalt surface. The 'road' in the wind tunnel is considerably softer than any track surface and influenced the porpoising issue. Plus in the wind tunnel the 'road' moves and not the car. Even for street car there can be real world differences. https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/2007-01-0898/

"

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6. Posted by Mad Matt, 16/04/2022 21:08

"I think the problem is that you can't model the bouncing in the wind tunnel. As far as I know the model (car) is attached to an arm above so you can measure pressure being applied to the car via the balance but the car can't move up and down.

Therefore one set of engineers are saying they can see improvements according to the wind tunnel and another are saying calm down we don't understand how the bouncing works yet and we've seen that improving down force can actually make things worse....

At least that's my read on it and I suspect Merc aren't alone."

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7. Posted by kenji, 16/04/2022 1:09

"Something sounds awfully wrong here? IAccording to Wolff, one group of Mercedes engineers are saying 'we have created some new parts that will make the car faster' and another group of Mercedes engineers who say 'no' that's not possible as we don't know why we are so slow' yet'? I mean this sounds like a bucketful of old garbanzos!!! IMO. Surely it can't be that both these groups of engineers are either right or wrong."

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8. Posted by Defiant, 15/04/2022 20:31

"Maybe they are, maybe they're not. Either way, I suppose Merc would play it as a strategy instead of admitting they're confused or wrong."

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