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Mercedes is smarter: Puzzle of mistakes in Singapore

Mercedes is smarter
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T chief technology officer Paddy Lowe has two twelve-hour flights in his bones. First from Singapore back to England, and after a flying visit to the factory from England to Japan. In Brackley, the engineers were busy processing the bankruptcy of Singapore. Four days after the inexplicably weak performance of the Silver Arrows, the technicians are now a bit smarter.

It is not the one big mistake that Mercedes would have made, but a sum of many small ones. The problem starts with the fact that the Mercedes AMG W06 is not a car that was built for street circuits. 'The aero characteristics of our car are designed for efficiency. In other words, maximum downforce with as little aerodynamic drag as possible. This is why we are so strong on tracks like Suzuka or Spa. And that's why we struggle so hard on tracks where only maximum downforce is required.'

The DNA of the Mercedes does not fit on city circuits

Every racing car has a certain signature. Lowe divides the 19 routes in the calendar into 3 categories. The high-speed courses from Monza and Spa. The city routes of Monte Carlo and Singapore. And the big rest. 'We have optimized our car for the rest. Since the wind tunnel time has been limited, you have to decide where to set your priorities. We have put the remaining capacities on Monza and Spa. The street circuits have fallen behind . '

From this point of view, the good performance in Monte Carlo was a bigger surprise from Mercedes than the bad one in Singapore. Even if, of course, you didn't expect that you would get under the wheels. There is another reason that forces the engineers to decide on a type of track based on the DNA of the car.

'We have been able to develop in an ever smaller window since 2009. With the exception of Spa and Monza, you drive Full downforce almost on every route. Then you choose efficiency or downforce at all costs. ' Therefore, in Lowe's opinion, it is understandable why Red Bull pursues the other philosophy. Anyone with a power deficit concentrates on shining on the slow tracks.

Mercedes upgrade in Suzuka

Other factors also contributed to the clarity of the defeat. If the car does not develop enough contact pressure, the tires will also work worse. They develop too much heat on the surface and too little temperaturein the substructure. “We also made mistakes with the setup,” admits Lowe and remembers: “Singapore was our weakest track last year.”

Another element in the puzzle of inadequacies was that Mercedes got through for the night race the city brought no upgrade. 'But everyone else does.' For this, the Silver Arrows appear in Suzuka with an aero package. Front wing and rear wing are new. There is also fine-tuning of the engine cover in the rear.

For Lowe, the Singapore theme is ticked off. 'The focus is on Suzuka. It makes no sense to try to optimize our car for Singapore now. We can take care of this race again in winter. Maybe then we will come to the conclusion that it was a mistake, the city races so negligible. But you have to die some kind of death under the current regulations. '


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