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james allison f1 media photo

Allison: Oh God, how could we [Mercedes] have been so dumb?

james allison f1 media photo

The recent performance breakthrough by Mercedes in Montreal left the Formula 1 team wondering how they had been so “dumb” in not understanding the car’s problems sooner, according to technical boss James Allison.

Mercedes driver, George Russell took pole position for the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix, round nine of 24, on 8 June and finished third for the once-dominant team’s first podium of the campaign.

Allison told F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast that Mercedes were back up to speed and expected to be competitive in coming races: “The thing that has bedevilled us from the start of the year, the overriding thing, was that you could get the car OK in a slow corner, get it quite decent in a fast corner, but you couldn’t get it good in both at the same time.

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“What has changed in the last two, three races is that we’ve modified the car in such a way as it actually has a reasonable high-to-low-speed balance and a reasonable through-corner balance.

“Eureka moments are ones where you joyfully understand something that I guess no one has understood before and you’ve advanced knowledge in the process moment.

“That’s a very wonderful thing, this is more of an ‘Oh God, how could we have been so dumb’ type moment, where you see the path forward and you should have seen it sooner,” Allison added when asked about the breakthrough.

Mercedes have not won a Grand Prix since Sao Paulo in 2022.

2022 Sao Paolo Grand Prix, Sunday - Jiri Krenek Mercedes have not won a Grand Prix since Sao Paulo in 2022.

Allison admitted that Mercedes had been distracted by “side problems” while chasing downforce and working on mechanical areas that made the car better but did not fix the fundamental aerodynamic problem, with a new front wing a key element.

Allison explained: “I think that we definitely can get the car this season to be properly competitive and to fear no tracks. While I’m pretty sure that we will make a good showing in the nearby future races, I’d be surprised if we’re on pole at the next one, for example.

“But I am absolutely certain that we can be as fast as anybody over the coming period,” added Allison, whose cars have not won a Grand Prix since Russell triumphed in Sao Paulo in 2022.

The team of seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton last won a race in 2022. The 2023 season was their first without a win since 2011.

Mercedes are fourth in the 2024 F1 constructors’ championship ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya but 177 points adrift of leaders and reigning champions Red Bull.

Red Bull have won six of nine races so far in 2024, with Ferrari taking two and McLaren one. The Spanish Grand Prix this weekend will be a great leveller, and help determine if Mercedes will brake the ‘drought’ and win again this season. Sunday in Barcelona is no better place to get that ball rolling again. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)

Big Question: Are Mercedes really back with a car that can challenge for victory regularly?