Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14

Arnab Bose

Mercedes REVEALS How The Cost Cap Regulations Are Affecting Wind Tunnel Time

F1 team Mercedes has been struggling with the car in the cost cap era is old news. It has been a difficult transition for the Brackley-based team from ruling the grid to fighting hard for second place. Moreover, they have won only a single race in one and a half years and have been disappointing their fans.

The Silver Arrows’ ace driver Lewis Hamilton has also been winless since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Last year was the first experience of the seven-time champion to finish a season winless. Although, he is still fighting hard to get back to winning ways. But it is difficult when the engineers are unable to provide a superior car. Moreover, the Mercedes technical chief, James Allison, has recently revealed that there is a great amount of lag between testing and production since the cost cap era began. But how’s that? Keep reading to find out.


James Allison Points Out The Differences Between The Cost Cap Era And Earlier Car Manufacturing Process

James Allison Mercedes
James Allison Mercedes Source: PlanetF1

Mercedes’ technical engineer Allison recently revealed in an exclusive interview that the wind tunnel is basically guiding the car where it needs to follow. Hence, the wind tunnel is responsible for the most performance the drivers can extract from the car. That’s where the performance comes from. Moreover, the gap between the wind tunnel time and what the car sees depends on how fast the teams can drop the geometry to the design office. Then it falls down to the manufacturing team to make it, says Allison.

Allison added that when there was no cost cap, the teams could drop things out of the wind tunnel almost every day. Then the designers would get on with furiously designing them. Later, they had to build them furiously. However, it meant the lag was only a matter of a few weeks. In the current era, James Allison says they can only introduce a couple or more upgrades a year. Then, it will just tickle things in between. Moreover, the cost cap rules are affecting in more ways, like it is getting difficult to find the people, resources, and hardware to invest, especially in capability improvement. 

Cost Cap Era Has Not Been Kind To Mercedes

Mercedes Pit Stop Tyres Change
Mercedes Pit Stop Tyres Change Source: PlanetF1

The Mercedes vehicle had so many problems to deal with. Last year, the W13 car faced tremendous porpoising issues. It created so much bouncing that the drivers were unable to control the car. Moreover, their racers suffered neck and back pain along with severe bruises. In the current season, Mercedes did well to reduce the bouncing, but there were new problems to fix. For instance, the W14 car has a balance issue, and the rear end is a big concern for the team. The Silver Arrows have introduced several new upgrades to the car. Moreover, they changed their zero-side pod concept. But still, the car has not helped the team get a win.

The team is trying to figure out how to end the winless drought. Clearly, the cost cap era has not been kind to Toto Wolff‘s team. Moreover, the idea was to bring all ten teams closer in terms of financial capabilities. To make the sport fairer for other teams than the powerhouses – Mercedes, Ferrari, and the current champions, Red Bull, the new laws came in. It might have helped teams like Aston Martin and McLaren to reduce the gap in terms of speed, but teams like Mercedes are finding it difficult to build a faster and superior car.