It has been known for a while that Mercedes technical director James Allison has been leading a push for a dramatic overhaul of the squad’s F1 challenger, after accepting that its previous approach had not worked.
Team boss Toto Wolff revealed at the end of last year that no stone was being left unturned in its quest to try to get back to the front of the grid.
“There’s almost every component that’s being changed because only by doing that, I think we have a chance,” he said.
While the full scale of the Mercedes revisions will not be known until Wednesday, and maybe not even until testing, there is confirmation of one critical new direction thanks to what has been spotted on the new Aston Martin AMR24.
With Aston Martin being a Mercedes customer for its gearbox and rear suspension, the squad has to take the same layout as the German manufacturer.
So, as the first images of the new AMR24 were revealed on Monday morning, the switch to a push-rod rear suspension has pointed to what Mercedes is doing too.
As Aston Martin technical director Dan Fallows explained: “We’ve inherited new suspension from Mercedes.
“They give us the gearbox and the structure of the rear suspension, so that has changed slightly from last year as well. So, there’s a change on the rear, but on the front it’s very similar.”
Mercedes W14 detail
Photo by: Mercedes AMG
Mercedes and Ferrari were the only manufacturers to run a pull-rod rear suspension last year, which their customer teams were also forced to run because of the implications on gearbox design.
But with Red Bull having put the alternative push-rod rear suspension layout to good use, it has become more obvious about that route being a better one.
There is a trade-off to be had in having the inboard suspension components higher up with a push-rod design, which is not great from a weight and centre-of-gravity point of view.
However, in moving those items higher up, it is clearing more room in the coke bottle region and diffuser area for better manipulation of airflow for the floor and rear wing, which should deliver more downforce.
The suspension direction is one that Williams will also be taking as it takes components off Mercedes too.
Team principal James Vowles revealed at the team’s 2024 season launch that there would be some intriguing changes on this front for his squad.
“In terms of the rear suspension, there’s bits that we’re happy to talk about,” he said. “But I’m going to save it for Bahrain, because there’s some interesting things to talk about where we’ve gone on rear suspension.”
Aston Martin AMR24
Photo by: Aston Martin Racing
Watch: AMR24 Reveal | Hyper-focus