Both Toto Wolff and Andrew Shovlin admit Red Bull has “the edge” over Mercedes right now, and they are bracing for a hard fight at Imola.
Although Mercedes managed to score its first 2021 victory over Red Bull at the Bahrain Grand Prix, team boss Toto Wolff says his team is in for a difficult season.
“We may have won the first round, but we’re under no illusions that this will be a straightforward season,” the Austrian said.
“The car is still lacking pace over a single lap and Red Bull appear to have the edge right now. We’re pushing hard to close the gap, and this is a challenge we relish.
“The 2021 F1 season certainly began in spectacular style. It was an encouraging first race, coming away from Bahrain with a double podium, and hopefully the duel in the desert between us and Red Bull is a sign of what’s to come this year.”
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However, Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin, doesn’t think Imola will be the luckiest of tracks for the team.
“I don’t think we are good enough in the high-speed and there is plenty of that in Imola and Portimao and that’s one area where they have got an advantage on us at the moment,” Shovlin explained.
“What’s our mindset? Well, we still don’t think we have got the best car but we also don’t think we have got the most out of the package yet.
“When you develop the car there are lots of areas you look to exploit performance from and some of them we don’t think have delivered everything they should.
“So we are going to be working pretty hard to bring performance to the car over the next couple of races.
“But I think it’s going to be tough and at those circuits there are elements that will move us in the right direction, but we have struggled with the rear end here in Bahrain and those circuits are a bit easier in that regard.
“But as I said, high speed is something that we wouldn’t be naïve in thinking that will be a strength of ours at those tracks,” concluded the Briton.