In Spain, Mercedes W14 EVO simulator-track consistency is favorable

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Spain is a country with a rich motorsport history, with multiple successful drivers and teams in various disciplines. One of the key components of success in motorsport is consistency, both on the track and in the simulator. In Spain, the Mercedes W14 EVO simulator-track consistency is particularly favorable, providing drivers with a reliable tool to prepare for races.

The recently launched upgrade package in Barcelona proved to be worth it, as it demonstrated its potential during its debut in Monte Carlo. Although Mercedes is currently performing well, they are maintaining a pragmatic approach at Barckley as they anticipate updates on upcoming circuits. The enhancements made to the suspension and bottom are of greater importance than the visual aspect, specifically the bellies. Since the start of the season, James Allison's technical crew has been aware of the necessity for a modification, and presently, the outcomes of their diligent efforts are becoming evident.

The changes made by Mercedes and Ferrari on the track raised a lot of expectations for the unveiling of the secret behind Max Verstappen's performance with the RB19 in Spain. It was as if the two top teams were starting from the beginning. The Anglo-German team showed exceptional performance, securing second and third places in the crucial GP, while Ferrari made a partial recovery despite some setbacks. Mercedes finally revealed the much-anticipated upgrades for the W14, which include a redesigned under body, new front suspension, and other auxiliary components, during the Monaco Grand Prix after the Imola race was cancelled due to flooding in Emilia. Understanding important updates on this GP can be a daunting task due to its uniquely slow and challenging layout, which requires uncommon settings.

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However, Lewis Hamilton acknowledged that the path could be the optimal choice. Over the weekend, Hamilton shared his confidence in the long-awaited upgrades, stating that they have given him greater assurance in the car's front end performance. Hamilton expressed his desire for a more assertive strategy in terms of development from Bahrain onward. However, despite his wishes, the technical department decided to delay it for three months, prioritizing the implementation of the "zeropods" concept as a last attempt. A solid backup plan was already devised. The only thing needed were track confirmations. The surprise at the beginning of the season was exactly what we needed to realize when it was time to let go of our previous plan.

Toto Wolff expressed that after the Spanish GP, their team significantly accelerated due to the new direction of development. The modifications implemented following the Montmeló package were proven to be highly successful. These alterations not only achieved the desired outcomes, but also greatly enhanced the synchronization between the simulator and the circuit. However, the previous world champion team had some doubts about the effectiveness of these changes.

Considering the significance of such a package, it is crucial to allocate sufficient time for its thorough understanding and enhancement. We altered numerous components to such an extent that we found it difficult to fully grasp them. We willingly took a risky step, without knowing what consequences our decisions would bring. "I have always said that we could have potentially moved backwards initially," affirmed Toto Wolff.

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At this moment, it seems that taking the risk was worth it. We are fully aware of the formidable strength of our racing car. According to Toto Wolff, if we assume that Lewis lost five or six seconds while overtaking Stroll and Sainz, we could have finished approximately 15 seconds behind Max. Despite Lewis Hamilton's disagreement, the Austrian team principal stated that the average difference per lap is estimated to be between 2 and 3 tenths of a second. At the heart of the matter lies the pivotal discovery made by the former world champion team amidst the race regarding the lackluster performance of the Hard, which they had previously disregarded in their thoughts following the practice sessions on Friday. Prior to the competition, we implemented different tactics. 

On Friday, we didn't have enough information to plan for a single break with the Hards, so we anticipated two stops. During the race, Andrew Shovlin noticed that those who started on the Hard tires were having difficulties overtaking other cars due to traffic. The media statistics on Friday were positive, so we believed it was a wise decision. According to the English engineer, our main goal was to select a tire with a good grip and quick warm-up, which would enable us to switch back to the Soft tire for the final phase. Undoubtedly, we were very pleased with the performance of the Soft tire during the initial phase. Although the weather has been amazing in Barcelona, we need to stay focused. George Russell and Andrew Shovlin were in agreement that the weather was ideal and the car they had was exceptional, during the previous year. It is intriguing how the new front suspension, particularly advantageous for Hamilton, and the improved bottom, in contrast to the extensively debated belly, have shown the most significant advancements. 

In order to alleviate any worries about the bigger component, Mercedes has taken steps to revamp the bodywork development process. Engineers frequently emphasize the significance of a car's undercarriage. They contend that it is more crucial than the external design, which, in their opinion, has minimal influence. But we aimed to remove these things. George Russell expressed complete confidence in the performance of the car, thanks to its newly redesigned side pod and bodywork.

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Mercedes has a keen interest in enhancing the W14 EVO, if only to gain a better understanding of the new package. Although the recent weekend's results might not suggest it, the Anglo-German car may still possess some "diva" tendencies, as the team and drivers continue to face challenges in swiftly determining the optimal set-up. Once again, the free practice on Friday in Spain did not go as planned. However, thanks to Mick Schumacher's simulator and hard work, the team was able to develop the car that ultimately performed exceptionally well on the racetrack on Sunday. 

One of our main objectives for the upcoming races is to assess the feasibility of adopting the Spanish pattern for the upcoming tracks. We displayed incredible speed and agility in Barcelona, both with the timely implementation of updates and in adapting to the unique features of the circuit. While the W14 has always excelled in fast, front-limited tracks, its exceptional performance shines on tracks with multiple quick corners like Barcelona. However, in Canada, we anticipate a more demanding race with slow-speed curves. 

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