The new package of Mercedes F1 didn’t work as they expected. The team experimented with a range of set up configurations to better understand the bouncing issues affecting this generation of cars and harvest data which will be worked on over the coming days as the team tries to unlock the true performance of the W13.
Mercedes was running more fuel than many of the teams in front of it, but looking past that it was clear the new package didn’t hit the ground running like the Red Bull upgrade.
It has been more of a struggle for Mercedes, and on track the car looks a lot worse than its Barcelona version.
The car is very stiff, doesn’t ride the bumps well and suffered quite dramatically from brake locking, understeer and porpoising.
I’m sure Mercedes will turn it around, but I’m not sure it will be in time for next weekend.
It is no question that Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team have been sandbagging during the Official Pre-Season Test at the Bahrain International Circuit, the W13 has been incredibly reliable but has supposedly struggled for outright pace.
Mercedes completed yet another strong day of testing on the final day of pre-season, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell who both got a final turn behind the wheel completed a combined total of 149 laps. Hamilton spent his final session focusing on race simulation, whereas Russell focused on one lap performance.
The Silver Arrows have sat mid-leaderboard throughout testing, onboard footage of the W13 does show however both drivers avoiding eighth gear at times, resulting in a significantly lower top speed compared to their rivals.
The W13 will be fully unleashed next weekend at the first Grand Prix of the season, only then will the paddock understand where Mercedes are in comparison to the other teams. Mercedes have gathered plenty of data across the three day test, the W13 is proving to be impeccably reliable.
Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director, does believe that there is still plenty of pace to be unleashed from the W13, which as mentioned has proven to be very reliable so far.
“We’ve had a busy day here but that’s always the case on the last day of testing. The programme was similar to yesterday but with Lewis doing the race work in the morning and George doing lower fuel and softer tyres in the afternoon. Both sessions have been quite instructive, we’ve made a bit of progress with the bouncing which in turn has made the car less of a handful on the limit and it also feels like we’ve made a step in the right direction with setup today.
“There’s still a lot of pace to come if we can make further gains on the bouncing and get the car more settled. We’ve got a lot of good data so hopefully we can gain a bit more understanding of the issues in the next few days.
“From a reliability point of view, the chassis and power unit have run without issue which is encouraging to see and testament to a lot of good work in Brackley and Brixworth. Judging the car from a performance point of view is less easy, we struggled to get the first laps out of the harder tyres but on softer rubber it’s coming more easily and we look to be in better shape.
“It feels like we need to find a bit of pace if we want to be fighting for the win at the first race but we’re learning and developing at a good rate so we’ll just focus on those aspects and see where we stand in seven days’ time.”
The team will be back on track in Bahrain in six days’ time for FP1 as we enter the first race weekend of the 2022 F1 season.
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