Formula1.com special contributor Chris Medland comments on Mercedes’ “fascinating” situation, and says “major upgrades” in Barcelona are likely.
F1 journalist Chris Medland has listed Mercedes’ current struggles with their car as one of the key ‘storylines’ going into this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
“It’s starting to feel like there might be a Mercedes section in every single one of these features this season, because the situation around the team is so fascinating,” Medland wrote in his Formula1.com column.
“Friday in Miami saw George Russell quickest and Mercedes – by their own admission – looking far more competitive than they have at any point this year.
“That was aided by a few upgrades and set-up decisions in Miami, but when FP3 didn’t go to plan, reverting to that Friday set-up didn’t yield the same results.
“And that’s what makes Mercedes such compelling viewing right now. They clearly have a very quick car in there somewhere, and Miami’s practice pace proved it above and beyond the team’s own comments.
“But they are still at a loss as to how to extract that performance with any sort of regularity, leaving them constantly in a fight for best of the rest.
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“The longer that confusion continues, the less likely Mercedes are to be championship contenders.
“But with 18 races still to go, a quick turnaround could well put them back in the frame.”
Medland goes on to say he expects to see major updates for teams in Barcelona.
“Barcelona has traditionally been a venue where major upgrades are introduced, and while that became less of a trend in recent years as some teams were able to bring a constant flow of new parts to races, the introduction of the budget cap is likely to see a return to that approach for many.
“One of the reasons Spain saw such development was due to its proximity to the various teams’ headquarters, making it easier to commit to getting the parts to the track on time.
“Plus, the track is one they know extremely well, having tested there on many occasions, giving the teams plenty of historical data to work with, as well as a clear comparison between their launch-spec cars and the latest updates,” he concluded.