Mercedes kick themselves: 'How could we have been so dumb?'

F1 News

Mercedes acknowledge dumb decisions for car design
19 June at 15:00
Last update 19 June at 15:03
  • Sophia Crothall

In Canada, Mercedes made a strong combeack. George Russell started on pole position, and finished third, with his teammate Lewis Hamilton finishing behind in fourth. Speaking on the F1: Beyond the Grid podcast, Mercedes technical director James Allison reflected on the 'dumb' decisions the team had made with the car. 

The Silver Arrows currently sit fourth in the Constructors. In Montreal, they had an overall strong weekend, and achieved their first Grand Prix podium of the season. Nevertheless, Allison now understands where they were going wrong beforehand: "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," he said. 

"It just means that the driver can trust both the front and rear axle in a fast corner and a slow corner and can trust it from when he hits the brakes at the beginning of the corner all the way through the apex and out the other side. That balance is crucial to a driver that they know whether the car is gonna understeer or oversteer and that it's gonna follow the trajectory they're asking."

'How could we have been so dumb?'

Mercedes have seemingly struggled since 2022. In 2021, whilst they might have won the Constructors, Lewis Hamilton lost out on the Drivers championship to Max Verstappen. Since 2022, Red Bull Racing and Verstappen have won both championships. Mercedes have been in close contention with Ferrari, who they beat by just three points at the end of last season. Now, they sit fourth, and have McLaren to also contend with. They will also lose their 'number one' driver, Hamilton, at the end of the season. 

For Allison, it was more of the team being 'dumb', than a eureka moment when they learnt what they needed to change. "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. And that's, I think, a very wonderful thing. This is more of a, 'oh God, how could we have been so dumb?' type moment where you see the path forward and you should have seen it sooner," he concluded.