Mark Hughes on Mercedes’ first major upgrade set for Australia

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd contributor Mark Hughes says “Mercedes are set to make the first major hardware change to their car this weekend in Melbourne”.

Mercedes is expected to introduce its first significant upgrade for the W13 this weekend in Melbourne. In his column, analyst Mark Hughes shares his expectations.

“Mercedes are set to make the first major hardware change to their car this weekend in Melbourne,” Hughes wrote.

“We expect to see an all-new rear wing at the very least and possibly some accompanying changes to the floor.

“These are the first of what the team hope will be a development programme that can access the potential they believe is within their W13 design.

“But it is only a sticking plaster-type mitigation of the underlying aerodynamic problems, for which a deeper solution is required, and which the team is researching.”

Hughes then went into more details on what can be expected from the upgrade.

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“The rear wing set to debut this weekend in Melbourne is expected to have a much smaller section mainplane than that used in Jeddah, despite Albert Park generally being a higher downforce track than Jeddah.

“That said, the changes which have been made to the track layout, in particular the removal of the former Turn 9-10 chicane (replaced by a flat-out section up to the fast chicane) mean the Australian track will be more rewarding of low drag than before. Though not to the extent of Jeddah.

“Essentially, the Mercedes W13 has been carrying more rear wing than the team would ideally have liked given the higher ride height they have been forced to run the car with.

“In Melbourne, hopefully that will not be the case. But that still leaves the underlying problem of how to cure the porpoising problem. This may entail a complete redesign of the floor.

“As an average over the two races, the Mercedes has qualified around 0.7s off pole position.

“Although we may see a more competitive W13 this weekend, this should be just a step on the way to a more fully-realised solution,” Hughes concluded.

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