Mercedes reveal focus and challenge of Miami upgrades

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Mercedes reveal focus and challenge of Miami upgrades

Mercedes have revealed their upgrades for this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix intend to cure an “underlying balance” that is “causing difficulty” with the car.

Going into Miami, Lewis Hamilton is enduring his worst ever start to an F1 season and Mercedes team-mate George Russell has just one top five result so far as the team sit fourth in the constructors’ championship.

Hamilton, who is leaving the team at the end of this year, was clearly frustrated during the Chinese Grand Prix after being knocked out in Q1 and fought hard to finish ninth in the race.

The seven-time world champion came on the radio several times about the car’s lack of pace when trying to come through the field as the Shanghai International Circuit highlighted Mercedes’ struggles in the long and high-speed corners, where they are “haemorrhaging” lap time according to technical director James Allison.

“The challenge that we face in the coming races is to try and move both the set up of the car and also the pieces that we bring to the car so that [the balance] is improved,” said Allison in Mercedes’ latest debrief video.

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Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok and Damon Hill discuss the problems at Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton’s decision to join Ferrari next season

“We’ve got upgrade packages coming to the car but also components that we hope will rectify the underlying balance that is causing us difficulty.

“Much as it’s painful to talk in this way after a weekend like China, I just have to remember that there’ll be races in the future when we’ve executed those things, when we’re back more on the front foot and when we’re progressing where the pleasure of talking about it will be massive and that day can’t come soon enough.”

Mercedes plan to be ‘ambitious’ in Miami Sprint

The big positive from Mercedes’ weekend in Shanghai came when Hamilton started on the front row for the Sprint and held onto second place behind Max Verstappen in the shortened race.

Miami will host the second Sprint weekend of the season, so there will be just one hour of practice for Mercedes to gather data and understand their aerodynamic updates before going straight into Sprint Qualifying on Friday night.

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Lewis Hamilton faced challenges with the Mercedes W15 during the Chinese Grand Prix

“Every weekend you go to you learn things. It’s one of the truisms of F1, it is a learning race and although you have a factory full of tools, you have a load of computational power, a load of people who are thinking about it, there is no place to learn about the car better than with the car at the track doing what it’s designed to do,” added Allison.

“We head from China, one of the most famously front limited circuits to Miami, a track that is more in the rear limited end of the spectrum and our challenge will be to make sure we don’t try and replay China at a Miami that is a very, very different beast and wants different things from the car than China will.

“We face the enjoyment of another Sprint weekend with this second go of having two bites of the cherry and we definitely learnt during this weekend that if you’re going to be ambitious, be ambitious in the Sprint race and then tune it down for the main race, rather than the opposite way around.”

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Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Toto Wolff react to a challenging Chinese Grand Prix

Mercedes had redesigned most of their car over the winter after going winless in a season for the first time in over a decade.

They abandoned their ‘no sidepods’ concepts 12 months ago but the 2024 car is still a long way behind Red Bull, while Ferrari and McLaren have also jumped ahead in the pecking order.

“Hopefully we’ll land a car in a better place, that the upgrades that we’re going to bring to Miami serve us well in a grid that in Qualifying at least is really close,” said Allison.

“Around the part of the battle we’re fighting a few hundredths can make a difference sometimes and a couple of tenths would make all the difference in the world. So looking forward to seeing how that all plays out.”

Sky Sports F1’s live Miami GP schedule

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A look back at some of the funniest celebrity encounters at the Miami Grand Prix

Thursday May 2
6.30pm: Drivers’ press conference

Friday May 3
3pm: F1 Academy Practice 1
5pm: Miami GP Practice One (session starts at 5.30pm)
8.20pm: F1 Academy Practice 2
9pm: Miami GP Sprint Qualifying (session starts at 9:30pm)

Saturday May 4
3.25pm: F1 Academy Qualifying
4pm: Miami GP Sprint (race starts at 5pm)
6.30pm: Ted’s Sprint Notebook
7.05pm: F1 Academy Race 1
8pm: Miami GP Qualifying build-up
9pm: Miami GP Qualifying
11pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Sunday May 5
6.05pm: F1 Academy Race 2
7.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday Miami GP build-up
11pm: Chequered Flag: Miami GP reaction
Midnight: Ted’s Notebook

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