Lewis Hamilton shows off his 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 car
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Mercedes engineering director Andrew Shovlin believes that the recent progress made by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell ‘validates’ the team’s original car design. Martin Brundle had slammed the Silver Arrows for their performance in the early stages of the season and had suggested they should redesign their concept for the second half of the year.
Mercedes initially began the season under the cosh as they struggled to adapt to the new regulations brought in for 2022 which aimed to encourage closer racing. The team pursued a different concept to main rivals Red Bull and Ferrari characterised by a lack of sidepods. However, the car struggled with porpoising and set-up issues meaning the once dominant outfit fell far behind their opposition.
However, the team has slowly seen their performances improve particularly in recent weeks. Hamilton has found himself on the podium in each of the last five races while Russell has joined him in the last two and also claimed the manufacturer’s first pole position of the season in the last race in Hungary.
Now, Shovlin has argued this recent upturn in performance has proved Mercedes were right to ignore Brundle’s previous comments by continuing to develop their car within their original philosophy.
“We’re not really saying, ‘Right, this is the route that we’re going to pursue forevermore’, we’re very open-minded about what we want the car to be,” Shovlin told the F1 Nation podcast.
“I think what is validated is that the development route that we are currently on can deliver more, and that’s a route that is starting to look like it can deliver us success and deliver us race wins this year.
“There’s no doubt that sticking on our current path, by and large, will be the thing that gives us the best performance this year.”
The engineer’s comments come some months after statements made by veteran Sky Sports pundit Brundle. Ahead of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix in May, the Englishman argued that the team should ditch the concept within the next two races if it did not start producing results.
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“There must be a point coming soon when they have to accept this car and concept doesn’t work and have a redesign for the second half of the season,” he said. Mercedes fared a little better in their next two races after Miami, with Russell claiming a podium in Spain but it did not represent a significant improvement from results that had gone by.
However, Mercedes have now proved the former Formula One star wrong by sticking with the W13 for longer than his original deadline and have seen vast improvements as a result. The Silver Arrows will hope to build on their recent form when Formula One returns from its summer hiatus at the end of the month.
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