Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn believes changes to his squad’s aerodynamic department coupled with other technical adjustments played a major role in their slump last season
The Brackley squad looked like they would challenge for several race victories in 2012 after Nico Rosberg won the Chinese Grand Prix from pole position.
However, it was a false dawn as they could only manage two more podium places in the next 17 races and finished a distant fifth in the Constructors’ Championship.
Brawn, though, feels that the departure of head of aerodynamics Loic Bigois, changes to their windtunnel philosophy as well as experiments with the Coanda exhausts and double DRS were to blame for their inability to challenge at the front.
“We made a decision to change the structure of the aero group. We had to wait for [new aero chief] Mike Elliot to join us because we had a notice period he had to fulfil at Lotus,” he is quoted as saying by Autosport.
“We concluded the situation with Loic and there was a gap that we didn’t fill very well.
“On top of that we were doing the transition from 50 percent to 60 percent models in the windtunnel, and there were a lot of other things in the aero group as well. It did have an impact.”
Merc are hoping the decision to switch to 60 percent models will pay off next year as it allows them to get more technical data from Pirelli’s tyres.
He added: “Our conclusion was that we would get a much more representative tyre at 60 percent than at 50 percent.
“Pirelli have to make 50 percent and 60 percent windtunnel tyres. There are only two teams that are still doing 50 percent.
“Even with Pirelli’s best efforts, they’re going to be getting better feedback about 60 percent tyres than 50 percent. So we wanted to make the move.
“The other thing that has happened over the years is that you’re putting more and more equipment inside the windtunnel model to measure, monitor and check. We just ran out of space in the 50 percent model.
“There were things that we wanted to do that we couldn’t do, and we needed the 60 percent model to accommodate those features. Sixty percent is the legal limit you can go to, there is no further step we can make.”