Andrew Shovlin believes that persisting with Mercedes’ current car design concept has been the key reason behind their improved performances.
Mercedes were one of the main teams to have been disadvantaged by the upheaval in technical regulations for the start of 2022, having dropped from championship contenders in 2021 to the third-fastest team.
This season’s pace-setters, Red Bull and Ferrari, have used different design philosophies for their 2022 cars, which was anticipated with the new generation of cars.
Mercedes’ car took a different design route to the frontrunners – standing out primarily for its vastly reduced sidepods – and initially struggled with porpoising and set-up issues.
Although Mercedes are yet to win a race in 2022, results have improved, with the team taking four podiums in the last two races and their first pole position of the season in Hungary.
Mercedes making progress with unique concept
Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director Shovlin admitted that whilst
they will never commit to a design philosophy forever, he was
optimistic of further-improving results in the second half of the
“We’re not really saying, ‘Right, this is the route that we’re going
to pursue forevermore’, we’re very open-minded about what we want the
car to be,” Shovlin told the F1 Nation podcast.
“I think what is validated is that the development route that we are
currently on can deliver more, and that’s a route that is starting to
look like it can deliver us success and deliver us race wins this year.
“There’s no doubt that sticking on our current path, by and large,
will be the thing that gives us the best performance this year.”
Shovlin rules out replicating rival’s designs in 2022
With Ferrari and Red Bull creating the fastest cars this season, it’s come as no surprise that other teams have been accused of attempting to replicate their concepts.
Aston Martin turned up to the Spanish Grand Prix with a car body shape that somewhat resembled the Red Bull, whilst Haas faced similar accusations of replicating the Ferrari at the Hungarian GP.
Shovlin added that Mercedes saw no benefit in attempting to overhaul the W13 to look like a rival’s car.
“If you try and make your car look like someone else’s, we will lose performance in the short-term,” added Shovlin.
“Maybe there’s a long-term gain, but in terms of what this year’s car looks like, I think we’ve got a decent idea of where we want to take it, and also how much performance there is to come.
“We’re quite excited about what we can bring in the next few races.”