Allison: only a matter of hard work until Mercedes get back to the front

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Mercedes technical director James Allison believes that his team will slowly get back to the front and it is only a question of hard work until the Anglo-German team finds the connection to the sharp end of the field.

Following a tough start to the new technical era of Formula 1 cars, Mercedes had hoped to turn its fortunes around for 2024. However, it seems that the Brackley-based outfit finds itself in more difficult situation than in the previous two years.

The team’s best result has been a fifth-placed finish so far this season, but they failed to score a single point in Melbourne, marking one of the their worst ever result. Mercedes have introduced a suite of upgrades in the previous two races in Miami and Imola with the team claiming that they have slightly raised their competitiveness.

"So from last year to this, we shifted a few things that you definitely can't shift in the middle of a season and you have to do across the winter. And I think those changes were helpful ones," started Allison.

"I don't really think there's too much in terms of the hard points on the car, the stuff that takes a season, that can only be changed across the winter. There aren't too many things of those that are crying out for adjustment. And mostly, it's just a question of hard work to get ourselves in a more respectable place."

Team boss Toto Wolff indicated that Mercedes has a problem with the physics of their W15. Allison said that every team can claim the same that does not find itself at the sharp end of the field.

"Well, I guess any car that's not on pole has a problem with its physics, because all of us are basically trying to understand the physics of racing cars better than our competitors. And if we're not at the head of the pack, then it's because we've done that less well than the others.

"It's probably easier for you to judge whether we're getting on top of our physics by watching whether or not we're getting close to the front. So, with a bit of luck we'll be a bit closer here at this weekend by the time the summer break comes along noticeably so and then we can discuss whether or not our physics are improving.

Last week saw Mercedes lose three key members after and driver development director Jérôme d’Ambrosio and performance director Loic Serra elected to leave the Brackley-based outfit and join Ferrari in the last quarter of the year.

It later also emerged that chief aerodynamicist Gioacchino Vino will also depart from Mercedes after more than six years with the team.

Speaking of the key changes, Allison commented: “I think it's more in the normal ebb and flow of an F1 team. The teams are big these days and in any given year you are shipping out a whole bunch of people and shipping in a matching number. That will be true in nearly every team.

“I don't think there's any point in me offering a commentary on motivation. Clearly, a team needs to have a critical mass of experienced and good people. And we would not wish to see experienced good people leave us.

“But we also are gathering experienced and good people at a similar rate. So I guess it's our job to try and make sure we act in such a way as everybody would rather be with us than anywhere else,” Allison added.

Expanding on his own situation during the period of struggles for his team, Allison said: "I don't think it's any more difficult for me than it is for all of us in the team. It's always tough when a car isn't where you want it to be.

"And that is not an enjoyable situation. On the other hand, once you do start to get your head around it and start to move it forward, that then becomes extremely pleasurable. So hopefully we've got the worst of the grim feeling behind us and are now on the upward slope of that.