Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14

Arnab Bose

Mercedes Technical Chief Raises Concerns Over Modern-Day Ground Effect Rules Ahead Of 2024 Season

Mercedes has been struggling to win races for the past two years. They have been no match for Red Bull as the Austrian outfit dominated the grid like never seen before. On the other hand, the former champions managed to win a single race in the past two years. Albeit, the Silver Arrows stayed winless last season. The problem lies with the concept of their car. Since 2022, the zero sidepod concept changed the status of the German team in the F1 grid. They used to enjoy the fastest car on the grid. That’s why Mercedes dominated the sport eight years in a row.

It was the turbo-hybrid era that belonged completely to the German team. Toto Wolff won the constructor title eight consecutive times. However, since the cost cap era began, the rival team, Red Bull, has been winning all the titles. Albeit there have been a number of complaints regarding the car from different teams due to the change in regulations. Clearly, Mercedes is one of the teams that complain. They had been through two difficult years to understand the car and what’s the right direction for them.

   

James Allison Believes The Sport Is Suffering Because Of The Current Car Design Rules

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

The modern-day machines are bigger and heavier than before. Several F1 team chiefs have expressed their distress over the changes. Moreover, Mercedes technical director have always been vocal about the regulation changes making the car worse. But recently, in an interview, James Allison mentioned the return of the ground-effect aerodynamics created stiffness and low ride height, and the authorities must address this problem. Allison also said high-rake and low-rake cars are not the beginning, middle, and end of everything. A high-rake car’s rear ride height would be around 140 mm. But in the case of the low-rake car, it is around 120 mm. Both rear ride heights are stratospheric ranges compared to these cars.

But Allison pointed out that these cars are setting off in the 60 mms. There can be a difference of a few millimeters, but Allison said these are all on the ground. The Mercedes technical director prefers the previous set of rules where the cars could be a bit more one-dimensional. The results of the different regulation can be seen in circuits with big speed range and low speed range. On tracks like Austin with big speed range, the cars will see different things like some bumps, slow and fast stuff. It will really test the car at those circuits. 

It’s Not Just The Mercedes Chief, The Current Champ Doesn’t Like It Either

Max Verstappen
BARCELONA – Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen in the RB18 during the third and final day of testing at Spain’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya prior to the start of the Formula 1 season. ANP ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN (Photo by ANP via Getty Images)

Mercedes chief claims Max Verstappen sure loves every bit of the car. But James Allison doubts that the Dutch driver would say the current set of regulations is a good thing. Moreover, the Mercedes chief asserted that things are different and it is not at all like how it was two years ago.

Max Verstappen won back-to-back titles with huge margins. But Allison feels even the current champion might agree with him that it is not good when the cars operate with that space to the ground while leaving the garage. Moreover, the Dutch driver never hides his opinions on new F1 regulations. Who knows he might actually agree with the Mercedes chief?