Mercedes GP have set high hopes on the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona. While the team stressed before it should not be written off just yet, a major aerodynamic package is ready to be raced at Circuit De Catalunya.
Although many teams will have upgrades ready for the start of the European F1 season, Mercedes expect to make a step forward in the hierarchy and get closer to Red Bull. After having tested a passive blown rear wing at China, it is however not clear if a fully working F-duct will make its first appearance at Spain.
The aerodynamic update is a planned move, contrary to the W01 changed wheelbase. Ross Brawn admitted that the team needed to increase the wheelbase of its Mercedes GP W01 after it found out that the team misjudged the new tyres.
"The problem is not actually the wheelbase per se, it is the weight distribution. When we got to test these tyres we realised we didn't have the correct weight distribution and we went to the limit with what we could achieve with this car. It is not the wheelbase as such, it is the weight distribution that is not what we wanted."
Ross Brawn's team is now suffering from a critical point of performance in which its predecessor, the Brawn BGP01 excelled.
"The tyres changed quite a bit... and we didn't have the opportunity to test these tyres, and we didn't have as good a guess of what was required as some of the other teams. So we will have a modification to the car at Barcelona which will give us a better range for the weight distribution that we can achieve."
On top of the performance upgrades, Michael Schumacher will also be racing a different chassis. Brawn commented at a fund-raising event for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in London that his chassis got damaged in the first few races and was repaired as best as possible.
"But now we are back at base we are going to re-introduce the test chassis and he will be using that in Barcelona."