Skip to content

Mercedes set 'very ambitious targets' for 2024 F1 car as they bid to cure current weaknesses

Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes' trackside engineering director, outlines the scale of change planned for next year to try and eradicate the W14's handling ills; watch the Qatar Grand Prix this week live on Sky Sports F1, with Saturday's Sprint at 6.30pm and Sunday's GP at 6pm

Mercedes' in-development 2024 Formula 1 challenger will represent a "quite considerable" change to this year's car - with the former champions "not clinging on to any concepts that we've had before" as they bid to return to title-challenging ways.

Speaking at the Japanese GP, trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said it was clear this year's W14 "doesn't have enough stability" with insufficient downforce meaning drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell do not have the confidence to fully attack high-speed corners.

Shovlin says Mercedes have set themselves "very ambitious targets" to improve things for 2024

"We are changing the car quite considerably for next year," he said. "Whether or not we can solve all the issues that we've got on the handling, that will depend on a number of projects delivering.

"Those projects are underway. They are not complete, but we have got some good directions to try and improve that."

Having already moved development away during this year from the so-called 'zero sidepod' concept that debuted at the start of the current rules era last year, Shovlin added: "The car will be different. We have made a lot of changes to it but it's very early in the development of the new car to be able to say we've got it sorted.

"When we launched our best cars, 2015 or 2019, those years, we didn't know they were going to be great cars when we developed them, you are just working as hard as you can trying to find as much performance as you can.

Also See:

"On a lot of those cars, we missed targets by quite a chunk in terms of performance but what we do know is that if you don't set very ambitious targets, you're probably not setting them high enough."

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes need the next six months to be the greatest in their development history in order to close the gap on Red Bull

The Mercedes engineer was speaking the day before the team finished 50 seconds behind Max Verstappen at Suzuka and Hamilton said that the former champions required the "greatest six months of development that we've ever had" in order to be "banging on the door" of Red Bull at the start of 2024.

It is a challenge the seven-time champion made clear he believes Mercedes are more than capable of accomplishing.

Shovlin says Hamilton and Russell have been "very aligned" in feeding back about the W14's weakness points through this season.

"We are certainly not clinging on to any concepts that we've had before," he added.

"We are very open-minded. We've had a pretty chastening couple of years, and we are a team that's working very hard to try and get back to the front."

Mercedes still upgrading this year's car too

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Mercedes engineer Andrew Shovlin shares his view on whether Lewis Hamilton would have won the Singapore GP had he been in front of team-mate George Russell

Mercedes' advantage over Ferrari for second in the standings is 20 points, with the Scuderia having more than halved their deficit to their rivals in the four races since the summer break.

In order to both push on with performance this year and aid understanding for next year's W15, Mercedes have said there would still be some more upgrades brought to the final six rounds of this season.

Speaking in their post-Japan debrief video, Rosie Wait, the team's head of race strategy, said: "The new parts we bring to the track do both; hopefully they add performance and make the current car go faster, but they are all specifically targeted around areas where we need to further our understanding.

"The things we will learn from testing them this year will directly feed into the development of the W15. We also mustn't lose sight of the fact that we are in a tight battle for P2 with Ferrari and that position in the championship is really important to all of us. So, we have upgrades in the pipeline and will continue to be bringing them to the car."

Will Max Verstappen wrap up his third world championship at the first attempt at the Qatar GP? Watch every session of the Sprint weekend live on Sky Sports F1 from October 6-8. Stream F1 and more with NOW for £21 a month for six months

Around Sky