How big are the problems of Mercedes really? While Red Bull left the best impression on the test runs in Bahrain, there were some problems with the silver arrows: neither speed, nor reliability nor drivability of the car were at first sight like this, that Mercedes can talk about a good test.
The least likely problem is the speed. Although World Champion Lewis Hamilton was only in fifth place with more than a second delay in getting to grips, the fact that you are behind Kimi’s queens in the Alfa Romeo, of course nobody believes in Paddock.
Even at Red Bull one stresses that Mercedes is still the favorite. And Ralf Schumacher is also firmly convinced that the industry primus has not completely let the fuel out of the car.
More dramatic are already the problems that one seems to have with the driveability of the car. Hamilton turned with the W12 several times and even threw his bolts into the gravel bed. Mercedes is definitely struggling with an aerodynamic problem,”Schumacher says to’Sky’.
Auto”is not responding as expected”
The rear of the W12 is still causing problems, presumably due to the changes in the rules on the bottom and the diffuser. There one seems to have been hit harder by the car concept than Red Bull. One can see from the departures and from the problems Lewis Hamilton also had that the car does not react as it was used to and as one expected,”Schumacher says.
“If it is a concept question, the question is: Where does it start? Perhaps it is also the new design of the tires that does not exactly help the Mercedes”, the ex-pilot exercises in riddles and is sure that at Mercedes”the wires are hot”. But it is best not to do it, especially on just three test days before the new season.” So close to the start of the season, this is an absolute horror,”Schumacher says, expecting a bad surprise for Mercedes, if one does not recognize the problem.
Can the film day save something?
Today, however, the racing stable has the chance to correct something once again. Because Mercedes is having a movie day in Bahrain today and is allowed to go on the road again. However, the team only has 100 kilometers left to drive on special Pirelli tires.
And the first signs indicate that Mercedes is really using the day for filming and is making some slow laps with the safety car for promotional purposes.
Therefore the learning effects are also quite limited. Therefore, Schumacher does not believe that Mercedes is going to run away from everyone next week: “I would get so far out of it that Mercedes will not have an easy life in Bahrain,” he judges.
The German could imagine that Red Bull has a light nose at the moment. The RB16B is much nicer to the drivers and seems to be perfectly located on the road.” You get the feeling Max is hiding in last year’s Mercedes. Everywhere he directs, the car goes without having to correct it,”Schumacher said.
Next week there will be the first answer to whether Mercedes is leading the field again or whether you have to adjust to a hard year after all.