We were too 'dumb’ to understand problems fast enough – Mercedes

Mercedes’ recent performance improvement has left the Formula One team wondering how „dumb” they were in not realizing the car’s problems sooner, according to the team’s technical director James Allison.

George Russell took pole position in Canada on June 8 and finished third on the first stage of the once-dominant team’s campaign.

Allison told F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast that Mercedes is back up to speed and expected to be competitive in the upcoming races.

„The thing that has scared us since the beginning of the year is that you can get the car right in a slow corner, you can get it good in a fast corner, but you can’t get it good in both at the same time,” he said.

„What’s changed in the last two, three races is we’ve tweaked the car because it actually has a reasonable high-low-speed balance and a reasonable cornering balance.

„Eureka moments are when you happily understand something that no one has understood before, and in the process you’ve advanced knowledge,” he added.

„It’s the most amazing thing, it’s an 'Oh my God, how were we so dumb’ kind of moment, where you see the path forward, and you should have seen it sooner.”

Allison said Mercedes had been distracted by „side problems” and was chasing downforce, working on mechanical areas to make the car better but not fixing the underlying aerodynamic problem, with the new front wing a key component.

Mercedes are fourth in the constructors’ championship ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, but are 177 points adrift of leaders and defending champions Red Bull.

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Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton’s team last won a race in 2022. The 2023 season was winless since 2011.

„I think we can definitely get the car to be reasonably competitive this season and fear any tracks,” Allison said.

„I’m sure we’ll do well in the near future races, for example I’d be surprised if we’re on the next pole, but I’m sure we can be fast. Like anybody in the coming season.”

Red Bull has won six of the nine races so far in 2024, with Ferrari taking two and McLaren one.

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