Mercedes’ Andrew Shovlin says the team’s data shows they were “not as quick as Red Bull”, and “far too many cars were ahead” on pace.
To say Mercedes’ 2021 pre-season test didn’t go as planned would be an understatement. The team struggled from day one with an unspecified gearbox issue, and later both drivers had moments when it was hard to control the W12. The aforementioned issue, combined with a few spins put Mercedes firmly at the bottom of the ladder when it comes to the number of laps they managed to accumulate.
What’s worse, after the final day of testing, Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin confirmed the data shows his team was slower than Red Bull, as well as “many” other cars.
“We’ve had another day with good reliability where we were able to run to plan throughout the day. Valtteri was doing long run setup work in the morning and Lewis doing a mix of long run work and qualifying work in the afternoon,” Shovlin explained in Mercedes’ post testing debrief.
“We’ve made a bit of progress with the balance on higher fuel and the car was more predictable but we can see from the data we’ve collected over the last few days that on race pace, we’re not as quick as Red Bull.
“The lower fuel work was a more confusing picture, we didn’t gain enough and we need to go and look at our approach as far too many cars were ahead of us on pace today.
“We’ve had issues in recent years with pace in winter testing and managed to make good progress before the first race but we may have our work cut out this time.”
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However, Shovlin confirms Mercedes will pull out all the stops to get on top of their issues and make the car quicker before the first race on March 28.
“We’ve not got long before we’re back here for the race so we’ve planned a programme of work to try and understand some of our issues and will be leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to find some more speed over the next ten days,” concluded Mercedes’ top engineer.
After the final testing session Lewis Hamilton also confirmed there is a lot of work ahead for the team. The Briton was asked in what areas Mercedes struggled the most.
“Probably everywhere,” said the seven-time champion.
“I wouldn’t call it a struggle necessarily, just not quick enough. Just seems globally through the lap; there’s not one particular point more than the other.
“[I’m] thankful it’s over because I’ve just never been a massive fan of testing, I just love racing, but on the other hand it might have been good to have more days. It’s probably the only time I would have ever asked for more days.
“But yeah, lots of work to do, it’s going to be tough,” concluded Hamilton.