Mercedes say 'adventurous' W11 design was down to rivals' 'hunger'
Allison explains why team opted for "aggressive" W11 approach
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 24/02/20 3:45pm
Mercedes say they developed an "aggressive" and "extremely adventurous" 2020 car due to worries their rivals would "eat us up and leave us behind" had they failed to make a big change.
Mercedes came into the year as a record-breaking F1 team on the back of six straight double championships, but while their 2019 car was one of their most successful - they debuted a radically-different W11 at testing, which notably caught the headlines for its innovative new 'DAS' wheel design.
In a fascinating video describing the challenges of designing the 2020 challenger, technical director James Allison explained that the threat of Ferrari and Red Bull and their "hunger" for the title meant the Silver Arrows had to act.
"The temptation for us was just to keep polishing that one," said Allison of the previous car, the W10. "After all, it finished the season really strongly and it was developing very fast all the way through the year, so there was still lots of opportunity to make that one quicker.
"That conservative approach was very, very tempting.
"But in the end, we decided that wouldn't be enough. We were feeling the breath of our opponents on our shoulders. We know their hunger and we know that if we don't do something impressive with this car, they will eat us up and leave us behind.
"So we decided that we would make a car that was aggressive. Despite the fact that there is no change in the regulations, we would take every part of the car and see if we could challenge ourselves to make it better."
Allison says Mercedes now have a car which is a "big step forward", an assertion backed up from the first week of testing as they finished with the fastest times and the most amount of laps.
"We have got a car here that is streaks ahead of that  one in terms of downforce," he added.
He also detailed the changes to the car at length - including to the front suspension - while also praising an upgraded engine.
"You're not going to see all the detail, but I can tell you that the rear suspension on this car is extremely adventurous," said Allison. "We have put into the back, specifically on the lower rear wishbone, we have put a new geometry in there, a new geometry that gives us more aerodynamic opportunity, and allows us to get more downforce on the car."