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F1 | Mercedes didn't want to 'go down the route of just copying the fastest car that we could see'

Recent remarks from Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin published on motorsport.com have revealed why Mercedes stayed the course with their W13 concept. 

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F1 |  Mercedes didn't want to 'go down the route of just copying the fastest car that we could see'
Fuente imagen: mercedesamgf1.com

Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has explained why his team chose to resist revamping the concept of their 2022 challenger despite being off the pace in the early rounds of this season. Meanwhile, Mercedes’ Team Principal Toto Wolff has stated "We will never copy anybody else, but we may see things on other cars that we deem to be better."

In the summer break of Formula One, as the stories cannot come from any current on-track action (and Piastrigate seems to be having a rest from the column inches) the trend seems to be hearing unheard tales from the past or gaining greater insight into team decisions. Step forward motorsport.com who have published the remarks from Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin. In the publication, we learn that Mercedes was "not wanting to go down the route of just copying the fastest car that we could see" and instead chose to have a long-term vision for their car’s concept in the wake of new regulations. Full interview can be found here:


The main image of a Mercedes’ W13 in the early races of this season was that of a silver arrow violently bouncing down the main straight. While Sky F1 and commentators alike explained the finer art of porpoising - Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari soared out in front. Hence the reason why the question kept being posed as to whether Mercedes would go back to the drawing board.

As the 2022 season started, Mercedes had captured everyone’s attention. The 8-time F1 Constructors’ Championships revolutionary slimline sidepods indicated a signal of intent and many predicting that this application of the new regulations was bold and race winning. Of course, as it turns out, Mercedes is yet to win a race with the affectionately named ‘zeropod’ style concept car and the team only secured their first pole position at the most recent race of the season, the Hungarian Grand Prix. Even then it was George Russell who took this honour as opposed to their talismanic driver Sir Lewis Hamilton.

Nevertheless, having claimed that first pole of 2022, the trajectory of the team is clear to see and following a back-to-back double podium, big things are expected for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team when racing resumes in Belgium.

Andrew Shovlin revealed the approach of Mercedes in his recent remarks and explained the benefits from persevering and having a long-term vision instead of looking for a quick fix.

"When you look at the long-term future as a team through a set of regulations, if you don't understand it, copying will only get you so far. The most sensitive elements of the car's aerodynamics exist underneath it. So, the bit that you are least able to copy is the bit that's most important anyway.

On the topic of the ‘zeropod’ Shovlin explains that “in the media, the concept of the narrow bodywork was probably a much bigger talking point than it was within the team. But we weren't clinging to it through any kind of sort of affection for our own ideas."

Mercedes could see they had issues to address but according to Shovlin, the problems "would not have been solved by changing our bodywork in a hurry". However, that is not the only problem nowadays as previously a limitless amount of money could be thrown at the problem - but not in the cost cap era of F1.

Patience and planning were key but we learn from Shovlin’s remarks that Mercedes ‘didn't want to embark on a project that might take four to six weeks to deliver’. Instead, the team would take the problem step by step and ask the simple question ‘does what we're doing on the car make sense with all of our tools and all of our expectations?’

Expectation is always going to be high in Formula One but at Mercedes due to the talent and resources at their disposal as well as the huge success already achieved, expectation is very, very high. As such, Mercedes is no fool and even though they have seen progress made with the W13 (as they endeavour to make it not an unlucky number after all) the team won’t just stubbornly stay the course regardless.

This assumption is backed up by the comments from Mercedes’ Team Principal Toto Wolff as he also revealed to motorsport.com that his team had "no specific preference" over what concept it follows, but that it is simply "about having the quickest car." Hardly a groundbreaking comment but Wolff followed this up by explaining"We will never copy anybody else, but we may see things on other cars that we deem to be better. "So, these fundamental questions are being discussed at the moment and [will be] answered by September."

Red Bull Racing’s sidepod design is certainly the pick of the bunch at present and given the team’s tally of 431 points compared to Scuderia Ferrari (their closest rival) amassing 334 – many have earmarked the Milton Keynes racing outfit for their first title since 2013. However, nothing is guaranteed in sport let alone in Formula One and only a fool would count out Mercedes after half a season.


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