James Allison says Mercedes wasn’t ‘sandbagging’ in pre-season testing

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes’ technical chief James Allison says it took some time for the team to extract the maximum from the W10.

During most of the 2019 pre-season testing, lap times suggested that Ferrari might be the fastest car on track. In the end it turned out not to be the case, as Mercedes scored 5 1-2 finishes in a row at the beginning of the season. However the true potential of the W10 was not made obvious until the last day of testing when Lewis Hamilton posted the second fastest time of the test, just a small fraction slower than Sebastian Vettel.

James Allison now explains why it seemed that the team was ‘sandbagging’ at the beginning of testing.

“In the first week, our presentation car was used, which we had already approved in October 2018 – that was the plan from the start,” said Allison.

“At the beginning of testing, we wanted a reliable car that we could use to cover many kilometers. The early completion of the presentation car gave the team in the factory enough time to finish our race car as it was supposed to start in Melbourne.

“We wanted to incorporate as much aerodynamic development as possible into this car so it was finished late.

“As a result, for the first week we were driving a car that we knew would not be competitive. According to our calculations, it was 0.8 seconds slower than the Melbourne car.

“What confused us a bit, and apparently our opponents, was that for a number of reasons we couldn’t immediately get what was in this car.

“Only on the very last day we showed the lap times that we had expected. Many believed that we had drained gasoline, which of course that was not the case.

“It just took us that long to set the car up properly,” explained the Brit.

Source: Auto Motor und Sport

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