Mercedes hoping to build on 2018 progress with the W10

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Mercedes hope their new car, the W10, can continue what its predecessor started in addressing some key weaknesses.

As the team stretched the legs of the new Silver Arrow for the first time during a shakedown at Silverstone, technical director James Allison offered an insight into the areas that have been focused on.

Unsurprisingly, he started with the new aero regulations being introduced in 2019 and the challenge that comes with having to start fresh.

“Regulation changes are both opportunity and threat,” he commented.

“They are an opportunity because all the old assumptions about what you need to have to be quick are swept away and, if you are fleet of foot and smart in dealing with that, you can do better than all the other teams that are tackling the same change.

“They are [also] a threat because if you are not as smart and you didn’t see how to make the most of these new regulations, then you’ll certainly suffer in the coming season.

“But they are always exhilarating because you have that sharp sense of anxiety that you might not be doing enough but equally the thrill and excitement of looking forward to finding out,” Allison concluded.

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Away from the obvious changes, Mercedes have looked for more ways to address their shortcomings compared to Ferrari and Red Bull, notably at hot and high downforce circuits.

“The handling of the W09 was a big improvement over the rather idiosyncratic W08,” Allison explained. “We managed to be competitive at tracks which had plagued us in recent years.

“However, notwithstanding this improvement, we were still not as good as some of our competitors at preserving the performance of the rear tyres.

“We have worked hard on the suspension and aerodynamic characteristics to deliver a car that will be much kinder to its tyres – enough, we hope, to allow us to be competitive at all phases of the race and at each track on the calendar."

Finally: “Even though the minimum weight limit was lifted by 10kg for 2019, weight reduction remains a real challenge on the current generation of F1 cars," the Briton revealed.

"Components that we felt were stripped to the bone in 2018 have been taken, one by one, and subjected to a further round of aggressive analysis to shave further weight from them.

“Some components surrender what feels like a giant step of half a kilo, others just a few grams, but collectively each of these victories add up to a handful of kilos that have been invested back in the car on aerodynamics, suspension and power unit to bring performance.”