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Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes designer makes incredible claim about world champion’s car | F1 | Sport

2 months ago
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Lewis Hamilton won his fourth Drivers’ Championship with two races to go while Mercedes also scooped the Constructors’ Championship.

The Brit saw off the challenge of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel with eventual ease after the German had a number of engine failures in the latter part of the season.

But now Mercedes’ chief designer, John Owen, has lifted the lid on how they were able to have such a successful campaign.

Formula One introduced tighter regulations at the beginning of the year and the Silver Arrows adjusted accordingly to leave room for contingency plans.

“I set the objective to build a 90% car for 2017,” Owen told F1 racing magazine.

“It might seem strange not to aim for 100%, but the problem you face in any new set of rules is that you can’t be certain of the challenges you’ll face along the way – how the rules evolve, whether the tyres behave differently from how you expected.

“There’s a lot of unknowns there, so you aim for a car that can cover as many different circumstances as possible, and accept that it might not be the pinnacle of optimisation.

“We built a lot of adjustment into the car, the capability to react to things we saw.

“Unfortunately, most of the things we had to adapt to we hadn’t seen coming.

“So we carried a lot of compromise through the year for things that didn’t need to be changed and we struggled a bit with those that did.”

Owen goes on to explain how the car had extra space that would not usually have been there in years gone by.

“What I mean [by a 90% car] is that it’s quite spacious in places,” he added.

“The reason for that was to enable us to react during the design process and move things round.

“We didn’t know where the aerodynamic development would take us, to some extent – what areas of the car we’d need to find more space on for aero performance, what areas were safe zones where you don’t find any aero.

“If you can move things around in the car and not have to reinvent every part of it with every new development, it’s quite wise.

“We did have a very late change to one aspect of the power unit, and because of our philosophy we could accommodate it reasonably well.

“If that had happened on our 2016 car it would literally have been a case of tearing up the design and starting again.

“It was nice to have that little bit of breathing space, whereas for the next car we can afford to be a lot more aggressive.”