Mercedes chief details ‘very ambitious targets’ for 2024 car

Mercedes are striving for some “very ambitious targets” in the developmental phase of their 2024 car, revealed team chief Andrew Shovlin.

The Silver Arrows, eight-time constructors’ champions between 2014-2021, have endured a difficult two years languishing behind runaway leaders Red Bull.

The team originally persevered with a unique “no-sidepod” design before ditching it in May this year, reverting to a more orthodox approach.

However, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have still been some way off the stellar pace set by Max Verstappen out in front – and Mercedes trackside engineering director Shovlin now already has an eye set on 2024.

“We are changing the car quite considerably for next year,” he said, at the Japanese Grand Prix.

“Whether or not we can solve all the issues that we’ve got on the handling, that will depend on a number of projects delivering.

“Those projects are underway. They are not complete, but we have got some good directions to try and improve that.”

Shovlin added that Mercedes, unlike this year’s inconsistent W14 car, would not be “clinging onto any concepts that we’ve had before” following a “chastening couple of years.”

Mercedes chief Andrew Shovlin has one eye set on next year’s car development (Getty Images)
Mercedes chief Andrew Shovlin has one eye set on next year’s car development (Getty Images)

He details: "The car will be different. We have made a lot of changes to it but it’s very early in the development of the new car to be able to say we’ve got it sorted.

"When we launched our best cars, 2015 or 2019, those years, we didn’t know they were going to be great cars when we developed them, you are just working as hard as you can trying to find as much performance as you can.

"On a lot of those cars, we missed targets by quite a chunk in terms of performance but what we do know is that if you don’t set very ambitious targets, you’re probably not setting them high enough."

Mercedes have won just once since the 2021 season – when George Russell took his maiden F1 win in Brazil last November – and are currently in a battle with Ferrari to finish second in the constructors’ championship after Red Bull secured their crown at Suzuka.

In the drivers’ standings, Hamilton is looking to haul in second-placed Sergio Perez, with Verstappen set to secure his third straight title in Qatar this weekend.

Both Hamilton and Russell signed new contracts until the end of the 2025 season last month.