James Ellison We will study the new McLaren carefully

At Silverstone, Lewis Hamilton took the podium for the fourth time this season. Mercedes team technical director James Ellison summed up the British Grand Prix and answered questions from fans.

Q: Did the new front wing work as expected or could it be better?
James AllisonA: It is too early to answer this question. The new front wing is designed to make the car faster – all new items are aimed at this. But the specifics of the new front wing are also designed to improve the car’s balance in slow corners.

Silverstone is known for many things, but not many slow corners. On the slow part of the track, however, we looked quite competitive, so we can take a closer look at the effectiveness of the new front wing.

However, we will get a better idea of ​​the new product in the next stage in Hungary, where almost the entire circuit consists of slow corners. But the early signs look promising and the front wing seems to be working as expected.

Q: Why did George Russell start on soft tyres?
James Allison: It is probably more correct to ask why our riders started on different tyres. If Soft turned out to be a good choice for George, why didn’t Lewis start on these tyres? Or why didn’t George start on Medium if that lineup was right for Lewis? Why did we split the strategy?

Even at the beginning of the weekend we saw a few things. First, all tires showed approximately the same speed. The Soft lineup looked a little better in the early laps of the segment, but it started having problems towards the end. With the Hard line-up it was the other way around and Medium was somewhere in the middle. However, all three compositions were very similar in characteristics.

We decided that splitting the strategy and putting one rider on Soft and the other on Medium will increase our chances of a good end result. On Friday Soft performed well on a long run of laps and as George started ahead of Lewis we decided to increase his chances at the start so he would try to overtake someone. That’s exactly what he did, ahead of one of the Ferrari drivers.

On the other hand, it made no sense for Lewis to try to overtake his partner at the start, as the team would have gained nothing from this. That’s why we chose Medium, knowing it would give the best chances over the long distance in a race we planned to do with one pit stop.

The solution worked fine for Lewis. He drove a long first stretch and by the time the safety car took off he hadn’t been in the pits yet, which ultimately played into his hands. The distribution of the strategy increased the chances of the team and each of our riders individually for a good result.

Q: What lineup changes did the team make on Friday night? How much did Mick Schumacher help with this by working on the simulator?
James Allison: Over the years, the work we do on Friday nights has become increasingly important during the race weekend, and at Silverstone that proved to be especially important.

During Friday practice we saw that our car is very good on the race distance – both drivers showed a fast and stable pace and the tires worked efficiently. We knew that we had picked up very good base settings for the race, but at the same time we understood that the car did not have enough speed in one fast lap and something had to be done about that. We didn’t want to change the settings drastically so as not to lose the race pace.

It was the solution to this problem that the team was working on on the simulator on Saturday night. The engineers and Mick Schumacher worked until 2 a.m. to find a way to make the car fast in one quick qualifying lap without changing the fundamental settings for the race. We could change the tire pressure, the flap angle, things that can be changed in the closed park mode between qualifying and the race.

Great work by our team overnight, which increased the pace in qualifying, and on Saturday our drivers were able to compete at the front, but at the same time we still had good car setup for the race.

Q: Why did Lewis run on soft tires for the last part of the race?
James Allison: We knew we could do a lot of fast laps on soft tyres. We saw this early in the race with George with a full tank of fuel in his car. He had good speed and at the same time the tires didn’t wear much.

But most importantly, we knew how difficult it was to overtake at Silverstone. There are lots of fast, smooth corners on the track, but the straights aren’t long enough for the DRS effect to be big enough. As a result, there is little chance of overtaking.

We thought Lewis’s best chance of overtaking Lando Norris would be through faster tire warm-up after the safety car had left the track. We weren’t sure but we assumed Norris would get hard tires and we knew we would be in good shape on the soft ones.

This gave us a speed advantage over the McLaren in the early laps after the restart before the Hard tires warmed up to the optimum temperature. If you watched the first laps after the restart, you could see that Lewis was incredibly close to an overtake even without DRS. But we weren’t fast enough to make it happen, and Norris was able to pull away from Lewis as his tires got up to operating temperature. Our bet didn’t work out, but it was fun and we almost made it.

Q: Is there any chance that with further updates the team can stay ahead of the main rivals until the end of the season?
James AllisonA: The simple answer is yes. We have many more car updates planned for this season. Of course, all the teams will start paying more and more attention to next year’s car, which will slow us down a bit in the update race. But everyone knows very well, and in our case it is exactly the case, that next year we will be able to use all the new products that we are going to put on the current car. In fact, we invest in both seasons.

So yes, you will still see updates on our machine. I think the rivals will continue to bring new items as well. In the coming races, the balance of power will change a bit in our very close-knit group of teams, so new items on one car or the other may give an advantage until another team introduces their updates in a few stages.

Let’s see where we end up in the final third of the season. I hope we lead the way and have a strong second half of the year.

We will continue to study the novelties of other teams. We have hundreds of photos at our disposal, trying to understand what changes occur from race to race, so we notice something unusual.

An interesting and unusual fact about the new McLaren, which made them go very fast. It is very unusual for someone to make such a big step in improving the competitive position in the middle of the season. I take my hat off to them – they did a great job.

At the same time, this is a very interesting situation for us. We have pictures of them before and after updates, and we know how much lap time they managed to play. McLaren’s results like this have led us to take a closer look at their car than we usually do, to see what they can do to improve and if we can apply their solution to our car.

Source: F1 News

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