James Allison says Mercedes wanted to make the W11 “aggressive”

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Mercedes Technical Director James Allison says the team decided against taking a “conservative approach” with their 2020 car development.

In a recent video released by Mercedes, James Allison explained the design philosophy begin the team’s 2020 car.

“The temptation for us was just to keep polishing the W10 [Mercedes’ title winning 2019 car],” Allison explained.

“After all, it finished the season really strongly and it was developing very fast all the way through the year, so there was still lots of opportunity to make that one quicker.

“That conservative approach was very, very tempting. But in the end, we decided that wouldn’t be enough.

“We were feeling the breath of our opponents on our shoulders. We know their hunger and we know that if we don’t do something impressive with this car, they will eat us up and leave us behind.

“So, we decided that we would make a car that was aggressive. Despite the fact that there is no change in the regulations, we would take every part of the car and see if we could challenge ourselves to make it better.”

Allison then went through some of the details on the car.

“In the middle of the car, a huge, huge effort gone in by HPP [High Performance Powertrains] to put more performance into the PU [Power Unit].

“They have managed to have a really good winter, finding lots and lots of fresh horses from this Power Unit, many years into a regulation with fixed fuel flow, this year they have managed to find a really impressive upgrade in the power.

“Not just more horsepower. They have also for the third year straight bent over backwards to give us a Power Unit that gives opportunities on the chassis side to develop better aerodynamics.

“Because they have put a lot of work in to make it so that this Power Unit can operate at elevated temperatures compared to the previous year.

“Being able to run hotter means that for the same everything else, we can make smaller radiators in the car and keep the car cool. One of the reasons why this car is even slimmer than the ones that we have seen in previous seasons.

“Last year’s chassis would have stuck way out the side, but this year’s one, narrower still, as a result of the investments that HPP made on our behalf in their power unit.”

The Briton also explained the W11’s “adventurous” rear suspension.

“You’re not going to see all the detail, but I can tell you that the rear suspension on this car is extremely adventurous.

“We have put into the back, specifically on the lower rear wishbone, we have put a new geometry in there, a new geometry that gives us more aerodynamic opportunity, allows us to get more downforce on the car.”

Most importantly, Allison emphasized the car’s development potential.

“We have got a car here that is streaks ahead of that one in terms of downforce.

“We have got a car here whose development slope has kicked up, is steeper than the one that we finished last year with, in that very, very good car from 2019.

“And we’ve got a car here that we hope will be fertile ground to develop strongly all the way through the 2020 season,” concluded Allison.

You can watch the video of James Allison ‘explaining’ the W10 here.

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