Mercedes speaks plainly: What was bad, what became better
Gary Paffett and Edoardo Mortara don’t mince their words when it comes to the past shortcomings of Mercedes – now everything is to improve.
Of the six Mercedes drivers so far only Lucas Auer and Gary Paffett have been able to drive the new car for the 2018 DTM season. Due to the weather and crash conditions, only Paffett was able to get a first, correct impression of the unified aerodynamics, which is regarded as a racer’s healing bringer, during the test in Vallelunga. Paffett is thrilled. And the Briton is not afraid to stress why the rule change for Mercedes last year was so important in the series.
“Over the past five years Audi has had better aerodynamics,”he admits to’ Motorsport-Total. com’. Every year, one could only be amazed anew when they presented their design. The details of the Audi cars were always incredible. It costs a lot of money to be so unbelievable – and a lot of time. Compensating for the aerodynamics race is the best thing that could have happened to the series.”
“There are also enough unique selling points,”notes Paffett and admits a deficit:”We feel that BMW has the better engine – which is logical because it’s the latest model. Each team is a little different. But I think there are fewer differences this year than last year.”
Car had strengths and weaknesses in 2017.
It is no secret that Mercedes 2017 does not have the best car. Despite the initial performance scores, which were designed to make up for any shortfalls, only six out of 18 possible victories were achieved. The former Audi driver Edoardo Mortara also had a hard time of it in his first season for the Stuttgart team, where he only scored 61 points and 14. was.
“Last year, the car had its strengths and weaknesses and was sometimes difficult to control, especially in aerodynamics. Uniform aerodynamics can help us in particular compared to Audi.”
Audi and BMW also did their aero tests at the beginning of March in Vallelunga, Italy:”I think it’s too early to say where we stand with it now,”Mercedes team boss Ulrich Fritz does not want to make a direct comparison.
Reduced downforce causes no problems
“Because of the changes in the rules, every manufacturer has more or less built a new car. Therefore, it was of course tense to go to Vallelunga and experience the first test of strength there. However, I believe that this must be put into perspective. We did a lot of driving on the first day – over 100 laps. Gary was able to develop a good feeling for the car. We’ve been able to run a good program there.”
Before the test, the rumours about the lower downforce were still a cause for concern,”explains Paffett,” but the car is still very easy to drive,”and even more:” We don’t know where we stand and what it will look like at the start of the season. But when you drive your car for the first time and you feel that it’s already quite good, that’s a good sign. We can’t claim that we’re going to win everything, so far I’m satisfied.”
Paffett’s impression also calms the team-mates. The DTM has always been known for the fact that the field was close to each other and the distance from first place to the last place was sometimes only half a second,”he emphasises.
Qualifying becomes more important
“I guess the uniformity of the components will push the field even closer together. This makes it even more important to position yourself well in qualifying. Because if a rider in front of you is only one or two tenths of a second slower in the race, it will be very difficult to overtake.” In 2017, a Mercedes driver was only in pole position four times.
For experienced Paul di Resta, the rule change is a bit too late – he would have liked the alternative to the performance weights last year,”I’m already looking forward to everyone having to start from scratch at the first race,”he says,”Normally no manufacturer should have an aerodynamic advantage any more. Of course, it still makes a difference how your car is shaped and how aggressive you are, for example, with cooling. But all in all, the race should be more exciting with the fragile tires.”
“The ITR test in Hockenheim will be the first assessment of the current situation,”points out team boss Fritz, referring to the results of the 9th ITR test in Hockenheim. till 12. Now it’s time to understand how the new car behaves, how it can be adapted to the tracks and how it will fit the drivers in the end. At the beginning of the season, with the shorter test kilometres, it will be a key to the success that one understands very quickly.”
© Motorsport-Total. com