Mercedes GP is experiencing some cooling issues with its W02 challenger

The apparent lack of competitiveness of Mercedes GP’s W02 challenger are due to urgent modifications having to be carried out to counter a cooling issue, so claims the team’s boss, Ross Brawn.

But he is confident that the team will turn the corner once a more definitive package is installed in readiness for the final pre-season test at Barcelona in early March.

Despite both Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg enjoying a test day at the top of the timesheets in the dozen pre-season test days run to-date, Mercedes GP’s outright has largely been invisible, although all parties claim that this is more due to the team running a ‘basic’ design package that can be built on once the all-important reliability issues are ironed out.

But some more immediate design changes had to be implemented to the W02 – already known to be a very tightly sculpted and packaged machine – to counter some cooling issues.

When asked if he was worried that his outfit was currently trailing the leading teams, Brawn replied: “We are well aware of the pace of our current car, the distance to the current frontrunners and the reasons for this, which include the compromises brought about by our cooling issues.”

Speaking in an interview published on the team’s official website, he added: “Our intention was always to launch the car in a fairly basic specification to allow more time to focus on the upgrade package. This inevitably means that we look further off the pace than people might expect.

“Knowing all of the facts, I am comfortable with our current position and the developments that we have to come.”

The temporary solution the team had designed to counter the cooling problem had proved rather crude from an aerodynamic point of view, which may explain some of the lack of competitiveness, Brawn claimed, but that the forthcoming upgrade would overcome this problem.

“The short-term modifications that we made to the launch-specification car cost a reasonable amount of performance.

“The solution has been incorporated into the bodywork design for our upgrade package and will recover that performance before the first race.”

  Ross Brawn
Brawn: ‘Comfortable’ with the team’s current form, believes there’s more to come from the W02 challenger.

And, as expected, the team has had its share of mechanical issues in pre-season running, although none that have caused the team major concern.

“You naturally expect to experience faults with a new car and fortunately we’ve had relatively few of a ‘car-stopping’ nature so the impact on our programme has not been significant,” added Brawn.

“Our mileage has been good, we’ve covered 4,300km over the three tests to date and, of course, the more mileage you can achieve, the more opportunities there are to identify any issues and resolve them before the season gets underway.”

[Original images via Flickr, Sutton Images]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.