Mercedes are continuing to develop their 2023 car, and are finding significant performance gains according to their trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin, as Formula 1 comes to the end of the season’s European leg.
Both world championships are long gone with Red Bull having been the dominant force in F1 all season, and Mercedes relegated to scrapping for the podium places with Aston Martin, Ferrari and now McLaren.
But they’re continuing development on the W14 despite also focussing on 2024, as Lewis Hamilton trails Fernando Alonso by 12 points in the drivers’ championship.
“I think we’re making reasonable strides in development still,” Shovlin told select members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com. “But you can see still a busy period of the year because the teams are trying to get the packages on the car that’s going to take them through that flyaway region.
“I think it will slow down in the relatively near future. But we have made some pretty significant changes to the design of the car. And that’s actually opening up a bit of performance aerodynamically. So we are still finding good performance on the W14.”
After the Italian GP, teams travel to Singapore for the start of the eight-race final flyaway period of the season.
The closest teams will get to home before the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP is Qatar in early October, where Max Verstappen could well wrap up his third driver’s title.
Mercedes expecting Ferrari fight at Monza
Shovlin added Mercedes expect Ferrari to be a major threat at the Italian GP. Red Bull still go into the race as heavy favourites, with Verstappen aiming to break the record for longest win streak in F1, but there should be a fierce battle behind.
Aston Martin and McLaren both struggled at Spa before the summer break – though the Woking-based outfit also shone at Silverstone.
“We don’t seem to have the highs and lows that we had last year,” Shovlin added. “Ferrari looked like they struggle at the maximum downforce tracks, McLaren looked like they struggled at the lower downforce in Spa but it will no doubt change from track to track.
“It doesn’t really because the wings for Monza are actually very close to what you’ve got in Spa now so they’re basically the same with some tuning, there might be elements where you remove parts from the car.
“The wind tunnel resource restriction is the thing that would stop you doing loads of work on a Monza package. But there might be a few bits that come off.”