Skip to content

Hungarian GP: Mercedes expecting bigger impact from new front wing, says technical director James Allison

Mercedes say their new front wing is expected to have a greater impact in the slow corners of the Hungaroring than it did at the free-flowing Silverstone layout; watch the Hungarian GP live on Sky Sports F1 from July 21-23

SILVERSTONE CIRCUIT, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 09: Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14 during the British GP at Silverstone Circuit on Sunday July 09, 2023 in Northamptonshire, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jake Grant / LAT Images)
Image: Mercedes brought a new front wing to the British Grand Prix

Mercedes technical director James Allison is expecting the team's recently upgraded front wing to have a significant impact at the Hungarian Grand Prix, after the new part showed "promising signs" at Silverstone.

In an ongoing overhaul to the initial design of their troublesome W14, the latest addition to the car was a front wing for the British Grand Prix.

It initially appeared as though the new part had failed to deliver the sort of performance gains that had been hoped for, as McLaren leapfrogged the midfield to emerge as Red Bull and runaway world championship leader Max Verstappen's closest challengers.

However, Allison has now explained the new front wing is geared towards improving performance in slow corners, of which there are few at Silverstone and plenty at the Hungaroring, where Lewis Hamilton and George Russell's next opportunity to drive the W14 comes.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Highlights from the British GP at Silverstone, as Max Verstappen looked to secure a sixth consecutive race win

Asked in Mercedes' post-race debrief whether the front wing had worked, Allison said: "It's a bit too early to tell. The new front-wing is of course designed to make us go faster. That's why we do all our things.

"The specific characteristics of this new front-wing that we are excited about, is that it should improve the balance and performance of the car through the slower range of the corners.

"Now, Silverstone is famous for lots of things but lots and lots of slow corners is not one of them. What we took as a comfort from Silverstone is that in the slower parts of the track, we were looking pretty decently competitive.

Also See:

James Allison has returned to the role of technical director at Mercedes
Image: Mercedes technical director James Allison is hopeful over the impact of the team's latest upgrade

"That's a tick in the box for this new front-wing. But I guess it will only be when we get to Hungary, which is a track made up almost entirely of slower stuff, that we'll get to know for sure.

"Early sings are promising, the new front-wing seemed to do what we expected and hopefully it will bring us more at tracks which have a wider range of slow corners."

McLaren upgrades could be 'useful' for Mercedes

Similarly to Mercedes, McLaren have made major changes to the car they began the season with, and appear to have taken a major leap forward following upgrades brought to the previous two races in Austria and Britain.

Lando Norris finished fourth in Austria, but it was his and team-mate's Oscar Piastri's performance at Silverstone that really caught the eye, as the pair qualified second and third, respectively, behind Verstappen before backing up that display with impressive race pace.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Relive Lewis Hamilton's stunning fight for second at Silverstone with fellow Brit Lando Norris

Hamilton, who was unable to pass Norris in the closing stages of the race despite having theoretically better-performing softer tyres, described the McLaren as "a rocketship", and Allison has admitted Mercedes' technical team have taken note.

"We keep an eye on all the teams as they upgrade," he said. "We take lots of photos and we try and figure out what changes from race to race. We note when something new or unusual comes along.

"The interesting and unusual thing about the McLaren upgrade is that its lap time effect is quite strong. It's unusual to have a step of that size of relative competitiveness in the middle of a season and chapeau to them.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Look back at some of the most dramatic moments throughout the years at the Hungarian Grand Prix

"They've done a good piece of work there, but that also makes it interesting for us because we have the before and after shots and we know the lap time effect was big.

"So it's well worth us paying more attention than we normally might to another competitor team's upgrade because in this case, we know that whatever changed has made a meaningful difference to their lap time.

"It's quite useful for us to know what that was and see whether it can play into our own thoughts of developing our own car."

Further W14 upgrades can help next year's car

While Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said after the race at Silverstone that the team had "no choice" but to "pretty soon" switch their focus to next year's car, Allison believes there is still important work to be done on the W14.

"We are only just round about halfway through the season and there is plenty more development to come in these cars," Allison said. "All of the teams will of course be turning their attention to next year and that will defang all of us a little bit in terms of the rate of which we can improve our cars.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were left hugely impressed by the McLaren pair of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, following the British GP at Silverstone

"There are absolutely improvements that we would like to make on our current car that we know will also carry into next year. So it doesn't feel like throwing good money after bad. The feeling is that you are investing in both seasons with those upgrades.

"For us yes, you will see the upgrades coming for a little while longer. I suspect for the others too. What you will get in this next sequence of races is a little bit of yoyoing for position in a very closely packed bunch as upgrades make the difference for one team for a while, until someone else will come out of sequence with another upgrade a race or two later to even things back out.

"Where it will all settle down for the final quarter to one third of a season, we will see. Hopefully we will have our noses in front and be able to have a strong second half of the season."

Watch Daniel Ricciardo's return to the Formula 1 grid at the Hungarian Grand Prix from July 21-23, with every session live on Sky Sports F1.

Around Sky