Mercedes technical director James Allison says the team’s shakedown of its 2019 car next week is “vital” due to the limited amount of pre-season testing.
The W10 will be launched on Wednesday, February 13, on the same day it carries out a shakedown at Silverstone. Mercedes has traditionally carried out such running ahead of the first pre-season test, and with just two four-day tests before the opening race weekend in Australia, Allison says the initial track time is crucial to a team’s preparations.
“Ahead of us are the two key winter tests, but before that the shakedown,” Allison (pictured above) said. “The shakedown is a very limited number of kilometers that we get to do with the car ahead of those two winter tests — and is our first opportunity to find out whether everything we did in the factory has actually prepared a car that is capable of going around a track.
“The shakedown is our last significant opportunity to make sure that the all-important eight days of testing are as useful to us as they can possibly be. We don’t want those eight days interrupted by any form of problem that subtracts from our opportunities to maximize our track running.
“So the shakedown is vital for us as that final tick in the box to say, ‘Yep, good job everyone, we’re ready to go in winter testing.’ And it’s a shame in some ways that the critical nature of that hurdle — the ‘are we ready?’ part — overshadows to a degree the emotional impact of the fact that this is the very first time this brand-new car, the recipient of so much love and attention, is actually on a track.
“It tends to be that the significance of the achievement — the bringing together of all those thousands of bits in harmony for the first time and going around a track — tends to be playing second fiddle to the mechanics of, ‘Let’s make sure that we make sure we’re ready for the real thing, which is in a few days’ time.’
“But normally by the time you’re going to bed that night, if it went well and the relief has washed over you at that point, there is time to reflect on the beautiful thing that has been created. And to hope that that beautiful thing will be strong enough and have the performance necessary to realize the hopes that have been invested in it.”