Mercedes set for Spanish GP floor upgrade as new F1 front wing delivers hope

The German manufacturer delivered its most competitive weekend of the year in Montreal last weekend as George Russell took pole position and came home third.

But the result was probably not as good as the team could have hoped for, with the pace of its W15 having been super strong at various points of the weekend.

A new front wing that Mercedes introduced to help complement a recent upgrade appears to have transformed the balance characteristics of its car and suggested that the squad had finally started to unlock the secrets of the current ground effect machinery.

Watch: Canadian GP Race Review — Wet and Wild Vs Cool and Calm

With plans for more developments including a new floor set for the next race in Spain, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitted there was a sense that his squad was finally moving away from the difficulties it had in the past of improvement not delivering what had been hoped for.

“I think definitely, since Imola, we’ve taken the right steps and put parts on the car that are working, something that we were struggling in the past couple of years,” he said.

“Now directionally we seem to be adding performance every weekend and we have new stuff coming also, new parts coming in Barcelona that should help us. So I would very much hope that we can continue this positive trajectory.”

While much of the focus of the step forward that Mercedes has made has surrounded a new philosophy of front wing, Wolff says that the improvements to the car are much more involved than that.

Mercedes W15 nose and front wing detail

Mercedes W15 nose and front wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

He adds the progress has been helped by a raft of changes and an improved understanding of flow structures, that is helping it unlock what is needed.

“Sometimes when you bring a highly-visible part like a bodywork or front wing, this is pretty much the talk of what has changed the performance,” he said.

“But the truth is we have, over the last three races, brought so many new parts, visible and invisible for the eye, that have contributed milliseconds to more performance.

“I think this is where those marginal gains then have that positive effect. That was just a huge effort of the factory, so I think the wheel has started to get some real motion on it.”

Russell’s pace at times during the Canadian GP put him on a par with Red Bull and McLaren for the win, but a couple of mistakes proved costly in dropping him back.

While there was a sense of disappointment about the final result, with both Mercedes drivers unhappy about their own performances, Wolff said the negative sentiments were actually a sign of how far the team had come.

“I think when you finish third and fourth where we have been coming from, then it’s a positive race,” he said. “Three and four is much better than we had previously in the last few races. So that’s good.

“But I think both drivers saw that there was more because we could have maybe gained a position or two, and that’s why there is a kind of negative sentiment that prevails.

“But if you would have given them third and fourth before the weekend, probably, they would have taken it.»

Asked after the race if he felt Mercedes had a car to win, Wolff said: “Maybe for a few minutes, we dreamt about it, but in reality, probably not.”

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