Mercedes AMG Petronas’ executive technical director Paddy Lowe has fired warning shots ahead of this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, that there’s still more to come for the Mercedes W06 even after its dominant opening race 1-2 at the Australian Grand Prix.
Lowe admitted the team is already bringing some updates to Sepang this week.
“We may see some slight adjustments in the performance differential between teams due to the very different nature of the track relative to Melbourne,” Lowe said, “and we’re also bringing a few small updates to the cars – fixing a few points which have not been up to scratch thus far.”
Mercedes-Benz motorsport head Toto Wolff was more cautious in his pre-race comments, noting the competition is likely to improve and the weekend itself is far different from Melbourne.
“We will not be backing off – and nor can we afford to, with a relentless opposition chasing us,” Wolff said. “Ferrari have made a clear step forwards, Williams also look very strong and you can never count anybody out at this stage, so we are prepared for a fight in the coming races.”
In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.
Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.
Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.
The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.
“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”
Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.
SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.
When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.
SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.
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