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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Allison: Mercedes could bring updates to Austria next month

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Mercedes are hoping to bring updates to the W11 ahead of the opening round of the 2020 Formula 1 season in Austria, according to technical director James Allison.

Teams have been unable to work on developments during the shutdown period, but Allison said plenty of effort had gone to making improvements prior to that point.

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The Silver Arrows were the standout team in testing and start their push for a seventh consecutive world title as one of the favourites once again.

“If you imagine where the launch car was and the car that would have gone to Australia, that was frozen around about Christmas,” Allison told Mercedes technical partner Petronas.

“There was the whole of January, whole of February, March, all making the car quicker in the wind tunnel and also in the design departments.

“We got quite a lot of ideas about how to make it quicker, and quite a lot of those ideas were already in process through the design office before we were forced to shut down nine weeks ago.

“Our challenge now is to make sure that quarter of a year of development can get off the drawing boards and onto the car as swiftly as possible.

“We hope to have a chunk of that for the first race in Austria, and the season that follows will of course take as much of the development as fast as we can get it onto the car in turn.”

Ferrari are expected to bring an updated gearbox and power-unit to the first race of the season as they seek to close the gap that emerged between them and Mercedes during test.

Meanwhile, Haas have been forced to suspend development until the full calendar is confirmed and they are able to finalise their budget.

In preparation for the restart, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have both enjoyed track time in the 2018-spec W09 and Allison said that he is confident both will be ready for the season’s start.

“I expect mentally it’s tougher for the drivers than for the team, this period of waiting,” Allison said.

“For the drivers, all the peaks of emotion are amplified, the highs are higher, the lows are lower. To get yourself ready to go at the start of a season, and then have it taken away from you the way that it was in Melbourne, that’s tough I think for the drivers to take.

“It will be a sign of their resilience and competitiveness to see them bristle back to work with all the vim and vigour that is necessary to be right on it from the start.

“I have little doubt both Lewis and Valtteri will be ready to go when it matters in Austria.”