Formula One, Mercedes, James Allison
2EG9X9J ALLISON James (gbr), Technical Director Mercedes AMG F1 GP, portrait during the first session of the Formula 1 Pre-season testing 2020 from February 19 to 21, 2020 on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, in Montmelo, Barcelona, Spain – Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI

Mercedes has been struggling since 2022 because of their awful zero sidepod concept. Initially, the concept caused porpoising issues. As a result, the car was bouncing too much than the drivers could control. Even then, the drivers – Lewis Hamilton and George Russell managed a one-two finish in the Brazilian Grand Prix. It was an epic race because of who came first and who finished at P2. The young Briton surprised the seven-time champion as he won his maiden Grand Prix in his debut season for Mercedes. However, the concept has been a matter of discussion since that season. It was even more surprising when Mercedes did not throw away the concept last year.

As a result, they struggled even more and could not win a single race in 2023. It was the Silver Arrows’ first winless season since 2011. Very early in the 2023 season, Mercedes realized they were far from title contention with the car and its concept. Hence, they used the season learning and gathering as much data as possible about the car. In the end, it seems Mercedes has been able to go through a big change ahead of the 2024 season. Anyhow, James Allison recently said these changes had nothing to do with the concept. 


Allison Says Concept Has Nothing To Do With The Car

Mercedes W14 McLaren MCL60
Mercedes W14 McLaren MCL60 Source: PlanetF1

Lately, in an interview with Sky Sports F1, James Allison shed some lights on the misuse of the term “Concept.” He also explained a little bit about the process of change the team went through the winter. As per James Allison, concept has actually nothing to do with the machine to the mind of a car designer or a performance person in the sport. Moreover, the Mercedes technical director mentioned it is the process that shows what good and bad looks like. It is the method of finding out what they must put on the car to add lap time. Hence, the car is nothing but the output of that method.

That’s why Allison says the questions regarding the concept make the car designers talk about the wind tunnel or about the CFD. Then, how they deal with the wind tunnel and their way of meshing in the CFD is the concept that eventually produces the car. Moreover, James Allison that after the last two years, they have changed their methodology. As a result, they expect to see a different beast this year. The end result might always excite the fans, but the Mercedes chief believes it is the approach that makes their fates.

Mercedes Chief Says Zero Or Slim Sidepods Were Not The Only Reason For Their Troubles

James Allison Mercedes
James Allison Mercedes Technical Director Source: Sky Sports F1

James Allison says that he doesn’t see the world like other guys do. He doesn’t look at a sidepod and decide that’s a concept. Moreover, the Mercedes chief explains that they took a different path with their machine. In the end, he admits that it was definitely not a competitive car. The sidepods might have been the most notable visual aspect. But it was definitely not the main factor.

James Allison added that the car was just not right from the front to back. That’s the main problem. It just took the team a lot longer to learn and deal with the problem than they would have liked. The Mercedes technical director recently signed a long-term extension and would definitely stick around when the new regulations debut in 2026. 

Stay tuned with Sports News International for more such updates about your favorite F1 team.