Mercedes technical director James Allison says his team does still have upgrades to come this season even if much of the focus is on its 2022 project.
Toto Wolff has said the team is no longer developing its car, with the cost cap meaning it has allocated its resources to the new regulations that will be introduced next year. However, Allison says there are still parts to come over the next few races that should improve the 2021 car’s performance, after Mercedes felt it maximized its potential in the Styrian Grand Prix.
“We were discussing whether it’s more painful to have been beaten on pace having executed a clean weekend, or having thrown away opportunities where you might have won but you left stuff on the table that stopped it,” Allison told the F1 Nation podcast of the Mercedes race debrief. “And reached the conclusion very quickly that although the former hurts – hurts pride because you don’t like to be slower than the people you’re competing with – that delivering everything we can in good order is a precious asset and is necessary to keep us in the hunt while we seek the missing performance and is the very minimum we should expect of what we’re doing.
“We had a good weekend actually from an execution point of view, and the challenge is on us to try and make sure that we provide the missing performance so that we can go and put pressure on Red Bull and hopefully, see them stumble and make this a fight.
“You’re never confident of anything. I’m afraid it’s the permanent fate of anyone who works in this business to be perpetually worried about what your opponents are doing, and nevertheless having to focus only on what you’re doing.
“But we have a reasonable number of things that are going to make our car faster in the coming races, and let’s hope they prove sufficient.”
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) June 28, 2021
Some of the confusion comes from Wolff’s comments and Lewis Hamilton saying he wasn’t aware of any upgrades on the horizon when he feels Mercedes needs one, but Allison says that overlooks parts that are already being manufactured or potential ways of improving the power unit’s performance.
“I don’t think those two things are at odds with each other. And I don’t think Toto has said precisely that. What Toto points out is that next year’s rules are a big and hairy affair and they demand a huge amount of our attention. And so most of the focus of our factory has switched over to next year – the performance discovery for next year – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things still in the food-chain from prior to that focus switch, and furthermore it isn’t all of the factory.
“Furthermore, we’re only one of two factories, there’s also the PU factory and there is a little bit more to come also from the PU.
“So there’s some more aerodynamic change in the offing, a little bit of PU, we hope, on the delivery side, and just a few things that are not quite as tidy as we would wish, that we still have got the opportunity to put right while this season is still very much alive and hot.”