Mercedes had one heck of a year in 2020. The German team, as one would have expected, dominated the grid, bagging an incredible 13 wins from 17 races. It may well have been more, were it not for some ill luck.
The car that the Silver Arrows used last year, the W11, remarkably seemed even better than its predecessor. Heading into the 2021 season, thanks to the pandemic-enforced regulations, teams will continue to use last year’s machine. However, there will be a few minor upgrades.
Therefore, it’s no wonder that Mercedes are confident going into next season. Speaking about the car’s potential, technical director James Allison seemed upbeat.
He said (translated by Google),“We are very happy with the mechanical platform. She puts the tires in the window where they work best in most races. The car is reliable. The engine is excellent. The car is well balanced. The aerodynamics go well with the mechanics.
“That’s a good foundation.”
However, there is still one big fear. This concerns the new tires that will be used for the 2021 season.
Pirelli and F1 agreed to roll out a new set of tires for the upcoming season, despite initial plans being to continue with the incumbent tires.
The prototypes of these new tires were tested out in Bahrain. Safe to say, the drivers didn’t love them. The Brackley-based team were the latest to voice their concerns over the new tires.
Allison said, “We have fears. There is a new tire next year. That came as a bit of a surprise. We had some clues about this tire at Portimao, but since it was a blind test on a completely new track, it wasn’t very illuminating.
“We got better information in the last two races. We will use the data to learn whether the tire fits our mechanical and aerodynamic platform as well as it did before.”
Apart from the tires, the other area of concern pertains to the aerodynamic changes. “The second concern is how the new aerodynamic rules will play out.
“These aerodynamic changes are pretty big, so big that we can’t assume that our platform will automatically continue to work this well. We’re trying to regain as much downforce as possible.”
It’ll be interesting to see if Mercedes can get as good a balance on their car as they did last year. But let’s not kid ourselves, the Silver Arrows are a brilliant team and you’d back them to put out a top-notch machine as always with minimal chinks in the armor.