RACING

Shovlin compares Mercedes’ struggles in 2022 to McLaren in 2009

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Mercedes ground engineering director Andrew Shovlin admitted there were similarities between his team’s struggles this year with their W13 car and the problems their rivals McLaren endured during the 2009 season – as he mentioned the possibility that the Silver Arrows might have to wait. until 2023 to get on the top step of the podium again.

In 2009 Shovlin was working for Brawn GP – which won six of the team’s first seven races of that fairy tale season – while McLaren, which had won the Drivers’ Championship the previous season with Lewis Hamilton, suffered a difficult start. year, failing to finish on the podium in the first nine races.

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However, McLaren improved in the second half of the year, finishing on the podium in five of the remaining races – including two wins for Hamilton in Budapest and Singapore. And when asked if he could see any similarities between the two teams, Shovlin admitted: “There could well be parallels.”

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“My view on this was on the other side; we [Brawn GP] started out brilliantly, didn’t have the resources to keep up and was struggling to get closer to the podium by the end of the year,” Shovlin said. “If you look at the situation with McLaren at the time, the car they launched was not really on par with the capabilities of the team.


Shovlin admits there are similarities between the problems Hamilton faced at McLaren in 2009 and those Mercedes have endured this season

“When [McLaren] started to understand what they had to do with regulation, the pace of development was really impressive. And a parallel could be that within our team, we are just beginning to rediscover the pleasure of taking on this engineering challenge and the development challenge.

He continued: “It always takes time… There is a lag between your understanding and your learning, and actually bringing things to the track that make it faster. But the atmosphere [at Mercedes] is part of a team determined to return to the front lines. Our goal remains to be the fastest car; whether we can get there this year or will it take us until next year, I don’t know, but we’re all fighting very hard for it.

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When asked when Mercedes might consider halting development of the W13 and focusing on its 2023 car, Shovlin replied: “I mean, in Formula 1 you never draw a line. It’s a gradual mix of resources in W13 drifting down and [resource for the W14] adrift. We’re going to need clarification on the rules, if they’re going to change, before you make a really big change.


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Shovlin says Mercedes is starting to make sense of the W13

“But each team will have started working next year. The difference for us was that the start of the year was very difficult, it didn’t make much sense and it was really a firefight. We start just getting to a point where we can go back to what we would call development of the status quo, and that’s actually quite exciting.

“There are a lot of happy people at the factory now that we are entering a phase that is starting to make sense for us… We have to score points, we have to fight in the championships, but the most important thing is we have to figure out what we want to do next year and try to get the car back in the lead.

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