Mercedes: "Unknown" how much we've recovered after testing

Valtteri Bottas says Mercedes does not know if it has recovered any performance in its work to understand the car handling issues it suffered in 2021 Formula 1 pre-season testing.

Mercedes had a surprisingly difficult test at the Bahrain track earlier this month, finishing with the lowest lap count of any team after losing the opening morning to a gearbox issue and then Lewis Hamilton spinning off on the second day.

Hamilton's off was put down to a rear-handling weakness the Mercedes drivers encountered with the W12 in testing, with the world champion also spinning late in the final session as he prepared to conduct a qualifying simulation run.

Mercedes ended up with the fifth-fastest testing time, while its front-running rival Red Bull topped the times and had a smooth test overall with a package Mercedes called "planted" in comparison to its own.

When asked if Mercedes had understood what went wrong with its car handling in testing during the pre-event press conference for the season-opening Bahrain GP, Bottas said: "We struggled quite a bit for sure, but it was also pretty extreme conditions overall.

"It was really windy which makes it quite hard to understand the changes you're making and it compromises the run. It makes it even harder to understand and to learn in those conditions.

"But yeah, the fact is we struggled with the car balance.

"We always want more performance than we have currently overall both from the car side and chassis and aero side, and from the humans in the team.

"The team has been really flat out and understanding everything from the test and making sure that at least approaching this weekend we hopefully are going to start, in theory, in the best place with the set-up and everything.

"It's unknown how much we've recovered from testing and how much performance we gained by learning [in the days since].

"That's something we're going to learn hopefully in practice and at the latest on Saturday and Sunday.

"But at least I know that the team has done everything we can in the short time but the season is so long so there's no reason to panic, we just need to work hard."

Read Also:

Hamilton outlined his thoughts that Mercedes is still "in the early phases" of understanding how to get the W12 handling best.

"We've tried to understand naturally, in terms of quantifying how big or small an issue we may or may not have," he said.

"Everyone on the ground here, all the engineers and also the aerodynamicists – particularly back at the factory – have been working around the clock to rectify any normal things that happen with a new car and new regulation shifts.

"I'm fully confident that in the short space of time [since the test] that they've done the absolute best, but it's going to be a continued hustle to get the car to be where we want it to be."

shares
comments

Related video

Hamilton will continue to kneel in F1 2021

Previous article

Hamilton will continue to kneel in F1 2021

Next article

Bahrain GP: Latest F1 2021 technical developments

Bahrain GP: Latest F1 2021 technical developments
Load comments
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Prime

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Wind tunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as Pat Symonds explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics.

Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Prime

Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. Stuart Codling weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising.

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Prime

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Prime

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with Prime

The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with

OPINION: After consecutive street races with contrasting highlights, one theme stood out which has become a prevalent issue with modern Formula 1 cars. But is there a way to solve it or, at least, reach a happy middle ground to help all parties?

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku Prime

The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku

OPINION: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix had elements that make Formula 1 really exciting – unpredictability and shock results. This resulted in heartbreak for several of the championship’s regular contenders and joy for others who rarely reach the ultimate limelight. And one of those on the Baku podium is riding a wave of form he’s keen to continue

Formula 1
Jun 9, 2021
The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds Prime

The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds

OPINION: With the global pandemic still lingering, Singapore's grand prix has been cancelled for 2021, with more looking likely to follow. Although Formula 1 has TV deals and profits to chase, retaining a 23-race calendar could be most harmful to those who sacrifice the most for the championship.

Formula 1
Jun 8, 2021
Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An eventful weekend in Baku full of incident and drama lent the race result an unusual feel, as three drivers scored their first podiums of the year. But it wasn't the eventual race winner who scored top marks in our driver ratings

Formula 1
Jun 7, 2021