Mercedes is “pretty chipper” about the progress it made with its upgrade package at Silverstone that allowed it to close up on Red Bull.
Although Charles Leclerc took pole in Monaco and Baku, Max Verstappen was quickest in France and at both Austrian rounds, meaning Friday at Silverstone was the first time Mercedes topped qualifying since the Spanish Grand Prix. The team also brought a substantial aerodynamic upgrade to last weekend’s race and chief technical officer James Allison says the step forward it provided compared to Red Bull was a good one.
“I’ll say yes (the upgrades worked), that is the simple and short answer,” Allison said. “We brought a decent aero package to the track; we definitely saw an improvement in our performance and we were very happy with it.
“Whether the performance was a little bit more or a little bit less than we imagined is really hard to tell because you don’t get the luxury of performing a controlled experiment. You don’t run the old package and the new package several times doing back-to-back tests with fresh tires each time, because the weekend just doesn’t give you that luxury.
“Nevertheless, you do and are able to make some comparison because you make measurements on the car with all the sensors and you can compare back to the weekends before and look at the performance of the car before and compare to the one that you had (at Silverstone). It did all seem to be behaving very well — and if you then look at the stopwatch, you could see that just relative to the field we had moved forward — we were able to close some ground on Red Bull and we were able to have a more competitive weekend as a result.
“So, we came home from the weekend pretty chipper about the upgrade.”
Allison says there still could be some small additions to the 2021 car that are implemented as long as they don’t take away focus from next year’s new regulations.
“Is there any more to come? There may be, here and there; but the main industrial effort of our development program, that (Silverstone’s) was the last big package that we will bring this year. There will be a few tweaks here and there where we can see efficiently that we can bring some performance without distracting us from the big effort that is now going into next year’s car.”