Mercedes GP boss Ross Brawn has revealed that a pre-event rethink about the approach his team makes to grand prix weekends played a key part in delivering its best form of the season so far in the Chinese Grand Prix.
After struggles in Australia and Malaysia, Nico Rosberg led in Shanghai and looked set for a podium finish before being forced to back off to conserve fuel, after a miscalculation about how much would be needed to get him through the race.
Although the team was disappointed about the fuel issue, the overall performance of the weekend was better. Brawn says that the biggest factor was finally being able to extract all the potential from its W02 package.
"From our perspective, in Melbourne we had too many problems with the car and things going wrong, which meant we did not get a good run at it," explained Brawn. "In Malaysia, we were still struggling with cooling, so that meant we compromised what we could do with the car and we spent a lot of time trying to improve that situation. Here, with the lower ambient, cooling is not the consideration, or not much, so we could just get on and sort the car out.
"We also approached it a little bit differently this weekend. We did not rush back to the factory after the Malaysian Grand Prix, but I stayed here with the engineers and it gave us a good couple of days to think about things and we changed our approach a little bit, which I think helped.
"The approach we had evolved was very much based around the tires we had last year or the last few years, and perhaps with these tires and these cars, we needed to rethink about how we approach things in terms of setup.
"We also had a weekend where the car has run pretty smoothly. We had a glitch with Michael [Schumacher]'s car in qualifying again. This wing is on the edge of re-attaching when the flap is activated, and on the crucial lap, as is always the case, it did not quite reattach properly at the time we did not need that to happen. So we have a new wing for Istanbul which should resolve that problem properly."
He added: "Generally, we just had a smooth weekend, kept heads down and did approach/setup and run weekend as we thought we should. But we are not quite there with McLaren or Red Bull yet. We had a different strategy in the race. It was working for us, so it is quite frustrating what happened."