After a difficult Monaco GP, James Allison admitted that the team must understand why it has always been a challenge to perform well around the principality.
Mercedes did not enjoy the weekend in Monaco, especially because Max Verstappen and Red Bull stole the lead of the drivers and constructors’ championship from them.
Lewis Hamilton only managed to finish seventh, taking the additional point for the fastest lap, while Valtteri Bottas was forced to retire due to a problem during the pit stop.
In the last five years, Mercedes only won once in Monte Carlo, in 2019, with Lewis Hamilton keeping Verstappen at bay for a great part of the race.
“I think if you are a proper anorak and if you look at our team’s performance at this track over the last several seasons, you would see that in years where we have won championships at some ease, we have nevertheless struggled here,” explained Allison, Mercedes’ technical director.
“Although we have generally been on a path that has delivered a car that is a broad-sworded weapon that you can attack most tracks with, this has been an Achilles’ heel.
“Ironically, [for] a car which one of its best weapons has been the usage of its tires at circuit after circuit after circuit, this particular track, we always struggled a bit with that.
“We are normally all out of ideas with a tire that has died a little sooner than our competitors and it is understanding that which we have failed to do for several seasons.
“We need to figure out from first principles what are we getting wrong at this track, and what are we doing year on year, that is just not right for here.”
Hamilton believes that the long-wheelbase design chosen by Mercedes does not help the team around this specific venue.
“This has never generally been a strong track for us,” Hamilton said.
“We have the longest car, the longer the car means it is like a bus to turn through corners, so it is not as nimble as the others on a small track like this but it is great elsewhere.”
Toto Wolff added the team’s goal is to build a car that is competitive at every single track, but around some circuits, the machinery might be less competitive.
“We had outliers, such as 2019 I believe, in terms of pace, but it is similar to the kind of events we had in Singapore in the past,” Wolff said.
“It’s somehow ingrained in the DNA when our car goes well or not, and the answers are not always easy to find. It seems to be like an inherent DNA in the car.
“But in our case, we know where we need to optimize the car, how we need to get the tires in a better window. And you’re building a car for 23 races, and there will be outliers in both directions where you will underperform.
“Monaco is an outlier where you need a different car to, let’s say, the average tracks.”