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Mercedes

Mercedes set out action plan for return to the front of the F1 grid

Mercedes technical chief James Allison has shared more details about the team's approach to getting on top of their early-season issues.

Hamilton Bahrain
Article
To news overview © Mercedes

Mercedes should be able to return to competitive ways "quite swiftly" if their plan to tackle the "extreme" porpoising they have experienced pays off, according to the team's Chief Technical Officer, James Allison.

Mercedes have been impacted by the phenomenon - brought on by F1's move to a ground effect philosophy - more than most teams, leaving them struggling for pace at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

As the paddock heads to Saudi Arabia, Allison has admitted that getting on top of the situation will be crucial "for the fate of our championship", and shared more about Mercedes' plan of attack.

"Porpoising is something that caught all of the teams out when they first launched this generation of cars just a few weeks ago," said Allison in Mercedes' Bahrain GP debrief video.

"The mechanisms that cause it, while not completely understood yet, are rather different from what the commentators are providing on the web and on your TV screens.

"How quickly each team can get on top of it and fix it is going to be quite an important thing for determining what the pecking order in the sport will be.

"We were caught out by it quite badly and, especially when we put our first race upgrade package on in the last winter test, the amount of porpoising we saw has been quite extreme."

Mercedes "hard at work" to deliver upgrades to the track

Allison made clear that upgrades are in the works to address the fundamental problems Mercedes are facing, and ensure that they no longer have to "throw away" performance to compensate.

"We are starting to get it under control, but at the moment, we are getting it under control a little bit by having to throw away the basic performance of our car," he went on to comment.

"In the coming weeks and, of course, with massive, massive pressure on us to make sure we deliver this quickly, we will find improvements that get on top of the bouncing, while not throwing away the underlying performance of the car.

"We can't obviously wait to deliver those solutions; we are hard at work back here in the factory to find them, make them, get them to the car and then enjoy the benefits of them.

"Hopefully [we can] start to realise some of the inherent goodness that we have built into this car that should put us back up where we want to be at the front-end of the grid."

Mercedes determined to join the championship fight

Allison stressed that being able to compete for championships, and not just wins, is "the purpose of our team", as they tackle the "big job" of cutting the gap to early-season pace-setters Ferrari and Red Bull.

"We were something like 0.6 of a second, maybe more, off the pace of the leaders in Bahrain," added Allison.

"But we are carrying a lot of problems, and a lot of problems that all have solutions, and all of those solutions are within our compass to deliver.

"It is challenging, but actually after winter testing, I'd feared worse, and I think the performance improvement we've managed to deliver from winter testing to the first race, while perhaps not visible and perhaps not reassuring to the fans, is reassuring in house here within the team.

"What we have ahead of us, the way in which we are approaching the problems, and the way in which we will bring solutions, also gives me some comfort that we will get back to a competitive car quite swiftly, and that we will be able to pursue the objective we have of championships."

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