Mercedes’ simulator driver Anthony Davidson says he expects the team to “make gains”, but “it will take time, it’s not a quick fix”.
“I could see on track already in Bahrain that it didn’t quite look like the car that I knew in the simulator,” Davidson told Sky Sports F1.
“That was already ringing a few alarm bells with me.”
The main issue the W13 is facing is porpoising, which is preventing the team from running the car as close to the ground as they intended.
“I think the main point of it is they just can’t run the car’s ride height the way they want to,” the Briton further explained.
“I see lots of other teams, the Red Bull for example, it can scrape along the ground sparks flying off it from underneath. They cannot get that car physically any lower to the ground.
“You don’t really see that on the Mercedes, or the Ferrari for that matter, and you see a lot more bouncing going on.
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“I think Mercedes ideally wants to run where the Red Bull is, but every time they try and go there, the porpoising and the bouncing gets unbelievably detrimental to the comfort in the car and also the speed.
“And it’s not just happening in a straight line, it’s happening within the high-speed corners as well. Then the car becomes a bit of a bucking bronco and you can’t hang onto the thing.
“The problem they’ve got is they know they’ve got potential in the car. They know it can be much quicker, but they can’t run it where they want to. It’s a fascinating problem.”
Davidson went on to say it’s not a problem that can be fixed quickly.
“The car isn’t as good as the Red Bull and the Ferrari, it’s in no-mans land. It hovers in the grey area where you can’t challenge the front, but you’re certainly faster than the midfield behind you.
“I do expect them to make gains… but it will take time, it’s not a quick fix. And we shouldn’t expect a quick fix, from Bahrain to Jeddah.
“There was hardly any time in between and it was basically exactly the same car that they took there,” the Briton concluded.