Andrew Shovlin believes the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team can be in contention for a podium finish this weekend at the Circuit of the Americas after pleasing early results of their updated W13 after Friday’s running at the track.
Both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell showed good performance across the two sessions at COTA on Friday, even if the wind was playing havoc with proceedings.
Shovlin, the Track Engineering Director at Mercedes, says the updates brought to the car this weekend appeared to be working the way they were expected to, and he hopes the reasonable start to the United States Grand Prix weekend can see them fighting towards the front of the field on Sunday.
“We’ve had a pretty solid day all in all,” said Shovlin. “We ran the update kit on both cars in the morning and the data from that looks in line with expectations.
“The balance has been tricky due to the wind, but I don’t think we’re alone struggling with that. There’s also a fair bit of tyre overheating on the long runs that will be tricky to manage on Sunday, but it seems like everyone is suffering with the same.
“The wind is set to get stronger over the next two days, which is probably going to be the biggest challenge of the weekend, but we’re off to a reasonable start and if we can find a bit of improvement on the balance, we can hopefully be in a position to fight for podiums.”
Shovlin said the cooler tyre blankets that were being trialled with the 2023 tyres during the Pirelli test in the second session made for an interesting approach to tyre management, but he was pleased overall with the consistency of the new compounds.
“We had the tyre test in the afternoon, which was interesting; the cooler blankets are going to change the way you approach qualifying and race strategy and the warm-up was a bit tricky, but the tyres themselves look to be a step in the right direction in terms of consistency and handling,” he said.