Mercedes’ technical director James Allison has offered a peak behind-the-curtain on their new car for the 2020 Formula 1 season, suggesting it is far more than just an evolution of its title-winning predecessor.
In a video released by Mercedes on Sunday, Allison said the team decided to “make a car that was aggressive” in the new W11, instead of taking the “conservative approach” of merely improving 2019’s W10.
“The temptation for us was just to keep polishing [the W10] — after all it finished the season really strongly and it was developing very fast all the way through the year, so there was still lots of opportunity to make that one quicker,” he said.
“That conservative approach was very, very tempting. But in the end, we decided that wouldn’t be enough.
“We were feeling the breath of our opponents on our shoulders. We know their hunger and we know that if we don’t do something impressive with this car, they will eat us up and leave us behind.
“So, we decided that we would make a car that was aggressive.
“Despite the fact that there is no change in the regulations, we would take every part of the car and see if we could challenge ourselves to make it better.”
In the video, Allison highlights multiple areas of innovation, namely the aerodynamic concept around the front wheels, the side impact structure, the performance and packaging of the engine, and the “extremely adventurous” design of the rear suspension.
“We have got a car here that is streaks ahead of that one in terms of downforce,” he promised.
That said, there was one notable subject Allison did not touch on, with no discussion of DAS — dual axis steering — included.
Aiming to win their seventh world championship on the trot, the message from Mercedes seems to be that they remain as hungry as ever, and with a car Allison hopes “will be fertile ground to develop strongly all the way through the 2020 season”, it will take some doing for anyone to beat them.