One point that Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has constantly stuck to is that they will not be developing their 2021 car as their focus is now completely on their 2022 car. This sentiment was reiterated after the Styrian GP as well. However, Mercedes’ soon-to-be Chief Technical Officer James Allison has now contradicted those statements while speaking to the F1 Nation podcast
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0:00 - James Allison Contradicts Wolff On 2021 Development Plans
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I'm your host Dillon Shelley and first up on Formula World:
James Allison Contradicts Wolff On 2021 Development Plans
Allison began by explaining why they have been on the backfoot in 2021
“Ever since the rule changes that were introduced aerodynamically for looking after the tyres, we have found it hellishly hard to find the sort of performance gain rate that we found previously prior to those rules”
He then confirmed that they still have a few updates to come in 2021
“We have a reasonable number of things that are going to make our car faster in the coming races. Let’s hope they prove sufficient”
He was then asked about Wolff’s statements that had categorically denied any more development on the 2021 car
“What Toto points out is that next year’s rules are a big and hairy affair and they demand a huge amount of our attention, so most of the focus of our factory has switched over to the performance discovery for next year”
“But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things still in the food chain from prior to that focus switch. Furthermore, it isn’t all of the factory and, we [Brackley] are only one of two factories, there’s also the PU factory [at Brixworth] and there is a little bit more to come from the PU”
He signed off by hoping that these changes can make the difference
“So, there’s some more aerodynamic change in the offing, a little bit of PU, we hope, on the delivery side and just a few things that are not quite as tidy as we would wish that we still have an opportunity to put right while this season is still very much alive and hot”
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has suggested that “Mercedes are now missing their 50bhp advantage that they've had for seven years”
He also feels that “the fastest car on the straight is now the McLaren, with a Mercedes engine. They are not used to this situation at Mercedes”
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has explained that 2nd and 3rd at the Styrian GP is “not a bad result”
However, “what’s tough is that it’s been the first race really in eight years where [they] are just lacking the pace”
He added that “[this week, they’ll be] scratching [their] heads and trying to look at the race and see, is there anything [they] could have done better in terms of set-up direction”
He also thinks they “found some clues for qualifying… but could [they] have optimised on race pace, as that’s always a balance. It’s very interesting”
F1’s managing director Ross Brawn feels that “at the beginning of the year, Mercedes out-raced [Red Bull]”
“That is not the case now. It’s been the opposite in the last couple of races. Mercedes are trying too hard, and they’ve stumbled a bit” Brawn proposed
He also pointed out that Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc “made the mistake in the first place. He was a bit clumsy at the start so that is why it is a dilemma as he deserves driver of the day”
Formula 2 championship leader and Alpine test driver Guanyu Zhou will borrow Fernando Alonso’s car for FP1 at this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix
He will become only the second Chinese driver to get behind the wheel in a Formula 1 practice session
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner thinks that “the whole team's just working tremendously well at the moment”
“The only hiccup [they] had in that race was the pit stop for Checo [Sergio Perez] but other than that it was an immaculate performance” Horner surmised
Williams’ George Russell is “just gutted for the team to be honest” after a power unit issue forced him to retire early from a points-scoring position in the race
He further explained how they “were in such a great position - P8, on the medium tyre - [they] would have been able to pounce at the end”
“And [he thinks] P7 was probably possible, ahead of Alonso and there’s four or six points, is massive. It’s the difference probably between P8 and P10 in the championship”
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas has stated that if they “want to keep up with [Red Bull, they] can’t do so much tyre management”
His teammate Lewis Hamilton explained that “it’s much, much different. Obviously back [when they] did have upgrades, [they] had the great people [who] were constantly finding improvements”
“It’s obviously now more flat and yeah, it’s just different. It was a great battle back then” Hamilton concluded
Can Mercedes find a good compromise between their qualifying and race pace for the Austrian GP?
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