Mercedes to move on from Austin blow with ‘sunny optimism’

Mercedes to move on from Austin blow with ‘sunny optimism’

by Reuters News Service
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Mercedes expect their upgraded car to perform strongly in the final four races of the Formula One season despite the blow of having Lewis Hamilton disqualified from second place in Texas last Sunday.

Technical director James Allison said in a post-Austin debrief on Wednesday that he was confident there would be no repeat of the excessive skid block wear that led to the exclusion.

“Of course the disqualification is a significant blow. It’s a miserable feeling. It hurts and everybody here feels it,” said the Briton.

“Everybody is upset, embarrassed to a degree as well because we absolutely don’t like being on the wrong side of the rules and just lamenting the lost points.”

Allison said that feeling would soon be replaced by “a sunny optimism of knowing that the car looked bright on this upgrade package and we’ve got four more races to show what we can do with it”.

Mexico this weekend, with a high-altitude track and thin air, should be “pretty decent”, he added. “The corners suit us, and the pace of the car should be good.”

Mercedes won in Brazil last year with George Russell and that should be a race where “all the things we just put on the car should pay good dividends”.

Las Vegas, the penultimate race of the season and a novelty for 2023 with a night race in the cold desert air, will be a new challenge.

The season then ends in Abu Dhabi where Allison again expected a positive showing.

“All four races differ in character… we’ll keep our fingers crossed that in one of those four the dice might roll in our favour and we’ll achieve more than just a podium.”

Allison said Austin, despite the skid plate problem, had actually been a “cast-iron vote of confidence in favour of what we put on the car”.

“The disqualification had everything to do with the setup and the bumpiness of the track, amplified by the fact that it was a sprint weekend,” he explained.

“We just simply didn’t take enough margin at the end of free practice one. When we had done our setup we checked the plank and everything all looked fine, untouched after the FP1 running.

“But the results of the race speak for themselves. We were illegal so clearly we should have had our car set a little bit higher up to give ourselves a little bit more margin.”

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