Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Mercedes believe rivals’ cars have superior rear-end balance

2021 F1 season

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Mercedes say improving the rear-end balance of the W12 is a key area they are working on to close the gap to their rivals after testing.

Both the team’s drivers commented on the changes to the car’s handling since the introduction of new rules during the off-season intended to reduce rear downforce.

The team’s trackside engineer Andrew Shovlin said they are trying to make the W12 a more forgiving car for Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, based on what they learned at last week’s test.

“The wind made it tricky,” Shovlin explained in a video released by the team. “When the wind is behind the car you lose a lot of downforce because effectively the airspeed is reduced.

“So some corners where the wind was behind, it was prone to doing that, and then also the tyres are quite easy to overheat on that circuit and if you start sliding, you tend to lose grip and it gets worse. So there are a few problems.”

Rival teams did not appear to have the same balance problems as Mercedes, said Shovlin.

“Importantly, we could see that some of our competitors weren’t struggling in the same way as us, so we need to put quite a focus on understanding why the rear end was a bit weak, how we can get it more stable and predictable and that work is going on now.

“Hopefully when we get to the race weekend it won’t be so difficult for the drivers because they were having to work pretty hard to do the lap times that they were doing.”

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Mercedes’ efforts to make progress with the W12 were complicated by the fact they covered the lowest mileage of any team. Shovlin said this was partly because work on the car between the days’ two sessions took longer than expected, which reduced how much running they could do in the afternoons.

“Fundamentally it was because we were trying to do a lot of work on the car in that lunch hour. We have to do the driver swap, which requires quite a few items like pedals and things to change, so that is one thing.

“Also, we were taking the floor off the car to do some checks and some service work on the power unit. Now, we were thinking we would lose the first hour of the afternoon. We thought it might run in by 15 minutes or 30 minutes, but as you saw we were rarely out before four o’clock.”

Red Bull set the quickest time of pre-season testing. Mercedes’ chief strategist James Vowles is convinced their Honda-powered rival will begin the year as the team to beat.

“It was pretty evident from that [our] car was handling poorly and conversely the Red Bull, in fact, looked what we would call ‘planted’. It was a very stable car especially through the last sector of the lap.

“I think that’s a fair observation, it was visible to the outside and I would say the lap times mirrored that as well. “But it’s also fair to say that we don’t have answers as we are sat here now, it is just 24 hours after the end of the test. [There’s] huge amounts of data available to us and now a long journey ahead to try and understand what was causing that.”

“I would say Red Bull are ahead on performance,” he added. “They are the class act from the test. But it is a test, it is not a race and it is one event out of 23 [races].”

Vowles predicted a “close season” between the two teams.

“Red Bull are a fierce adversary, they’ve got a strong package and clearly came out of the box very, very quick. The result of that is across the season and across different types of track layouts, I am sure you will see us move forwards and backwards relative to them but I don’t believe we are going into this particularly finding all the performance that is missing or being ahead of them.

“So, in short, yes, I think we are going to have a close championship this year.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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66 comments on “Mercedes believe rivals’ cars have superior rear-end balance”

  1. I’m thinking the way Tsunoda was given all that extra DRS for a show time in testing is a sign of how much Honda care, even if they are quitting at the end of the year. So they’re going to be pushing all year as well as the Red Bull team, and Mercedes are going to be up against it on the development front. It could really go either way.

  2. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
    18th March 2021, 12:54

    “I would say Red Bull are ahead on performance,” he added.

    And I would say that Mercedes are about to pull a 2019 and start the season with eight consecutive wins. At which point someone from Mercedes – perhaps Vowles – will say, “As you can see, this season has clearly been a struggle for us so far.”

    And then you will hear the collective moans of millions of soon-to-be-former-F1 fans, who can’t take much more of this.

    1. Fair assumption to make.

      If however they struggle, I see them on top by race 8, and screaming how Ferrari are on their tail from 5th place, and Red Bull closer in the race, as Hamilton bags 110 poles.


      If things get really bad, they will recruit Russel.

      1. As I think (not hope) Mercedes will be in front from the first race, I don’t agree with this. If RB is in front in the first couple of races, Mercedes is not going to catch up with RB. The last 10 years have shown that no one, even Mercedes, can’t develope in the same rate DURING a season than RB. Also, it would be the first time that Mercedes will be under pressure since 2014. They don’t make many mistakes when in front, but will it be the same when on the back foot?

    2. What is your solution then? Not Mercedes fault that no other manufacturers can come close to them.

      1. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
        18th March 2021, 13:24

        I agree. It’s not Mercedes’ fault. The fault lies with the rulemakers – who, in the early years of the hybrid era, made it virtually impossible for the other engine manufacturers to catch up – as well as with the prize money structure such as it was up until recently.

        The solution? Making it slightly less difficult for others to catch up would be a good place to start. This appears to be happening, slowly. Or maybe not. Time will tell.

        I don’t dislike Mercedes. They’ve been doing an amazing job for the past decade. But I’m just fed up with the current state of the sport. And I would imagine that anyone who isn’t a Mercedes and/or Hamilton superfan must feel pretty much the same way.

        1. I’ve been watching F1 for 30 years and in that time all I’ve heard is about how bad the current state of the sport is, and how it was all better X years ago (even though X years ago everyone was saying exactly the same).

          The engines as they are now are probably almost unrecognisable from the engines first developed for 2014, the fact that Mercedes remain ahead is nothing to do with rulemakers or anyone/anything making it virtually impossible for anyone to catch up – they have simply kept doing a better job throughout (although we have seen some give and take as engines are developed with the gap closing and opening from time to time).

          I’m neither a Mercedes nor Hamilton superfan, I’d quite like to see Leclerc, Ricciardo, Vettel, Perez fight for the title (and although I don’t personally like him I appreciate that Verstappen is also a particularly super-talented individual and undoubtedly deserves to fight for/win titles soon). But I also appreciate that Mercedes has simply done the better job, Hamilton is probably the best driver in the post-Schumacher era and also rightly deserves the success he has earned. The sport remains, as it was in the early 90s, imperfect but fundamentally still the pinnacle of motorsport and on balance a great sporting and engineering competition and great entertainment.

          One thing I don’t get at the moment is that everyone wants Mercedes to lose their crown, but when the signs are that Red Bull might really be getting lined up to have a good chance at it everyone on here simply states that they don’t believe it. There’s absolutely no doubt that Mercedes struggled massively in testing and whilst no doubt they will analyse the data and improve the situation – I’m hopeful that’s a sign that the title fight will be much closer this year so I’m taking the positives from it. If Mercedes win it again despite this rocky start then they probably deserve it as much, if not more, than their other recent titles.

          1. The current rules don’t necessarily mean just the engine rules. The 2017 rules, while it meant Ferrari and Red Bull were closer, also ruined any chances other teams could challenge as had been the case in the past. Then in 2019, were the rules to stop them once and for all. But, in hindsight (which is a lovely thing) it only made it worse. That’s not to say the rules were bad, everyone was excited for them. In theory, they would provide better and closer racing making it more exciting which is something we missed. In reality, it took away Ferrari’s and Red Bull’s best weapon against Mercedes and that was their better front wing designs. How great hindsight is though. Liberty has tried to stop Mercedes, they’ve just done a horrible job at it whereas Bernie was able to do a good one.

            You’re right in saying every decade people complain the sport is getting worse, but its for different reasons now. The problem in the 2000s was complex aero (a problem we still have) stopped overtaking on track, throughout the 1990s was a single team would dominate, and before that, I’m sure there was something else, I just wasn’t watching back then. But now, it’s all of those things combined with boring engines. To be honest, not all Mercedes domination was that bad. People will always complain, the 2002 and 2004 seasons were boring, 2011 was boring. Mercedes domination since 2017 has been a bit more interesting then people give credit for and they’ve gotten close to making it as good as it used to be. Sadly, most of the excitement has never been around the championship, and 2018 ruined everyone’s hope of that. Liberty needs to do something to stop this because no team has been allowed to dominate for so long and by such a margin.

            It’s not Mercedes’ fault, what are you to expect them to do? They’re there to win and give it there best so they will. Likewise, it’s not the other team’s fault for having to fight an uphill battle where the rules benefit Mercedes. It’s Liberty Media’s for simply not doing enough to stop it as has been done in the past. They have tried, and so far failed. Hopefully, these new rules change that. You’re right, it’s not that bad and it’s not always been great but that isn’t the point they’re making.

          2. Well said.

          3. 👍👏👏

          4. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
            18th March 2021, 15:59

            I’ve been watching F1 for 30 years and in that time all I’ve heard is about how bad the current state of the sport is

            Okay, so tell me: When was the last time one driver won 53% of all races, and one team won 74% of all races and 100% of all championships, for seven years straight?

            I realize that throughout the existence of F1, there have been periods where one team dominated. But no team ever dominated as completely as Mercedes, nor did any team ever dominate for as long. We can talk about Mercedes’ (and Lewis’) consistent excellence performance all day – I don’t disagree with you – but when one team remains that dominant for that long in a sport populated by as much talent as F1 is, it’s a sign that something is wrong with the sport, on a structural level.

            the fact that Mercedes remain ahead is nothing to do with rulemakers or anyone/anything making it virtually impossible for anyone to catch up

            So the prize money distribution has played no part at all? The engine tokens – and the after-effects thereof – have played no part at all? I beg to differ.

            when the signs are that Red Bull might really be getting lined up to have a good chance at it everyone on here simply states that they don’t believe it

            Maybe it’s because this isn’t the first time we’re seeing this pattern in pre-season testing, and it’s not the first time various motorsport websites have talked up the thrilling championship season ahead – only for Mercedes to absolutely destroy the competition and wrap up both championships with several rounds to spare. “Fool me once, shame on you,” and all that.

          5. I fully agree with you here, however one aspect that regularly is forgotten in the criticisms is that Mercedes has been able to out spend everyone else.

            In many respects, this is what has facilitated their relentless drive towards perfection.

            That spend is a massively tough adversary to beat on track if you haven’t got the ability to match it or outwit it.

          6. but when one team remains that dominant for that long in a sport populated by as much talent as F1 is, it’s a sign that something is wrong with the sport, on a structural level.

            I completely disagree. When a sport becomes more professional, potentials get tapped consistently to the near-maximum and chance is reduced to the bare minimum. If an athlete or team has a performance advantage, it is more likely to consistently exploit this advantage.
            Without direct data to back this up, I would say that in many popular sports, the athletes/teams that are currently best are and have been dominant for a while – or are expected to be dominant for a while.

        2. This is the core problem, people hate on Mercedes and Hamilton and it really isn’t either of their faults that F1 is in this state. Obviously 2000-2004 you had Schumacher winning everything and loads of people complained about that too and while Ferrari had a huge advantage (unlimited testing) they were just doing the best job within the rules.

          1. True, and as one clearly said in one of the comments above, even their dominance back then was nothing compared to mercedes here, this lasts longer and is more dominant, only really 2001, 2002 and 2004 were ferrari dominant cars in recent times, and for red bull 2011 and 2013 I’d say, while for mercedes 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020 and we’re fearing it might go on.

          2. @esploratore You might as well include 2017 and 2018 when LH won a big majority of the races in the second halves of those seasons.

    3. I think the camera work in races has been quite good at ignoring Mercedes if they are too far ahead and focusing on the fun stuff. If there is an exciting fight for a lower position then its all good. Sure a title fight would be great but it’s one of the advantages of the sport I think, that teams have vastly different goals so there is interest down the whole grid. For example, I’ll be excited if Williams is not last this year!

    4. I think Mercedes has a small inballance on low speed corners but they are still have a fast car what ever Toto says. That Red Bull will be closer that can we all see but not that are the fastest. That means Bottas has a real problem but i think he handle the car beter then lewis with this inballance.

      1. @macleod

        Looking at the corners Mercedes span off on, it looked like they had a problem with mid to high speed corners as well.

        1. I stand corrected indeed it was medium speed corners (Even Mercedes them selfs said so)

    5. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      18th March 2021, 16:49

      Good article in The Race about how Mercedes have dealt with new regulations. In both 2017 and 2019 they signed off an early concept for production, produced it and left it in a corner until the first test. They then turned the whole factory’s attention to a more radical design which they developed up to the second test, turning up with essentially a different car. This method freed up a lot of staff to focus on the best design as opposed to continually re-working the initial design as improvements are conceived. In effect, the first car is a sort of mule to prove certain concepts with the second car being those concepts on steroids.
      Now if this worked in 2017 and 2019 despite not having a second test, I can see them turning up in Bahrain with a different car and running aero rakes and test sessions during Friday practice. The lack of test data may lose them the first race to Redbull but they would have a much more competitive car to go through the season with.
      I cannot see a team as good as Mercedes spending from way back in Spa 2020 to Bahrain test in 2021 developing the 2021 car and only coming up with that skittish and nervous W12. They’ve either got something else in the bag or have forgotten how to design a car! I doubt it’s the latter.

      1. @davewillisporter I’m not going to suggest Mercedes is no longer the team to beat, and I fully expect that even if they are a bit on their hind foot initially we should all be wary of them working their way out of their issues throughout the season, as you suggest too. Just wanted to say that there is another alternative to your two options of them having something else in the bag, and forgetting how to design a car. They might simply have ‘failed’ to maintain a dominant car this time, or as much so, and might have ‘only’ produced a good car, but one that they need to learn more about. Does any team in motorsport, or any athlete for that matter, stay on top ad infinitum?

        Sure they may have something else in the bag, or they might not know what that is yet and will need some time to find that something else throughout the season, or even just the first half, or maybe the whole season. Maybe they’ll only be strong at certain tracks. That I’m aware of, in spite of their record, there is not a guarantee that they will nail it to the same degree every time, and there has been a floor change. I just wonder too, if their neat rear suspension work that helped them a lot over the last few years, and that from what I understand RBR have now taken a page out of, is less effective, or hasn’t been reworked enough, to adapt to the new floor reality. Or it could even be effects from the front wing back and the floor work and their rear suspension combined. Something they have missed seems to have upset the balance of the car and they seem to be saying it’s in the rear, but that could start with how they are channelling air from the front too.

        So I too doubt they have forgotten how to design a car, but I’m not so sure they have something in the bag either. Said with caution, for they have just been so formidable that one has to give them that, as you are, and at the same time it remains for the others to prove they have now outdeveloped Mercedes once they’re racing in anger, and throughout the season, and I know we agree on that.

        1. @robbie, you’ve pretty much nailed it.
          Bearing in mind that the aero changes that were forced on the teams specifically targeted rear downforce, something that Mercedes has consistently been stronger in that the rest, it’s conceivable that they’ve not been able to adjust as well as other designers if that’s where their core and fundamental skills have been.
          I seriously doubt they were just sandbagging last weekend and they’re now faced with the additional decision of just how much to spend fixing it given that this year there are budget restraints.

          Going to get really interesting next weekend – I can’t wait

    6. Chris Horton
      19th March 2021, 1:15

      See above.

    7. I would say the key difference to this pre season as compared to say 2019, is –
      1) Fewer days of testing – Mercedes actually bounced back in the last 3 days of the pre season test in 2019 really well, with fixes that addressed their problems in the first 3 days. They then took that momentum to be a 100% prepared with updates for race 1. This time there were only 3 days of pre season testing … so when they arrive at race 1, there’s no way they can confirm whether updates have worked.
      2) Least mileage – Mercedes strongest asset in pre season testing was the mammoth amount of laps covered and data they have to work with. Considering that they completed fewer laps than any other team this pre season test, it will definitely affect their preparation.

      Don’t get me wrong.. I still think Mercedes’ advantage at the end of last year will play in to their hands come raceday, but unless Red Bull has retirements and an awful streak of bad luck at the start of the season, there’s just no way Mercedes will win 8 in a row.

      If I had to predict, I’d say that Mercedes would probably win 50% of the opening 6 races. They would probably have their act together by Spain.. and go on to win around 80% of the remaining 17 races.

      1. IF mercedes start badly I’m actually optimist on red bull because they’re usually very good at developping a car over a season and their weakness is how they start the season, usually with a slow car, so IF red bull start out being competitive with mercedes I have a hard time seeing mercedes winning 80% of the races later on, that is what ferrari does, getting worse as season progresses.

    8. Well said – Mercedes and Hamilton, gutsy underdogs again…

  3. I totally agree that Red Bull look on top. But somehow I can imagine Mercedes pulling it out of the bag in Q3 at Bahrain.

    1. Yes, they will. And they are playing a cruel game on us, making us think otherwise for now. Just so we take out those exorbitant subs with Sky and what have you, then discover that yet again that the driver of the Mercedes that is not Bottas will cruise to victory every time…..

      1. At the moment they have some issues with the rear this doesn’t mean they are slow just a bit unstable. The only thing what you could conclude is that red Bull will be much closer in the first few races untill they fix the issue.

  4. I remember watching an interview with Sir Stirling Moss about driving the Mercedes GP car. He spoke about an incident when the windshield was broken during the race. He pitted and it took the pit crew 49 seconds to replace it with a new screen. He went on to say that at the next race the engineers had implemented a system that allowed him to push a button to replace a broken windshield, “that’s the way Mercedes works it doesn’t happen twice”. That’s Grand Prix Racing, the best of the best leading in technology and innovation.

    1. Germany 2019 comes to mind…

      1. erikje you can pick out individual lapses in performance or even major stuff ups 7 WDCs 7 WMCs with the strong possibility of adding to those this season shoots down any frivolous arguments you care to put up.

  5. The orange brigade is furious right now because there is an article circulating stating that Perez was indeed faster than Max based on track conditions. It appears the RB16B enjoys Checo’s Samurai style of driving.

    1. eh no, other things are more important.

    2. I don’t believe for one moment that Perez will be able to live with Max. By round three he will be suffering existentially. It may be that he has the thick skin and gritty determination to combat that situation….time will tell.

  6. There’s an interesting article by Edd Straw about Mercedes testing tactic, and why they seem bad initially and then come good later.

    Explains why no one at Mercedes are panicky or moody, but thinks it’s all a good fun challenge. Of course the rule change was specifically targeted at Mercedes, but IMO the best we can hope for is slightly higher tyre wear.

  7. I just want to witness an epic battle between Red Bull and Mercedes. It would be terrible if Red Bull would do a Mercedes and pocket both Championships well before the end of the season.

  8. I actually find it insulting that they continue with this BS. They’ve done it every year. Do they think we’re stupid, or have short term memory loss?

  9. Mercedes have claimed that their rivals have faster car nearly every season after testing. Especially LH. The only season i dont remember them claiming it was the last one cuz they knew how buggered Ferrari was.
    No point giving any statements after testing any weight.

    The only hope is that its how it seems and the floor cutoff really does hurt low rake cars more. If that is not the case Mercs will wipe the F1 clean again..

    1. F1oSaurus (@)
      20th March 2021, 10:20

      Well they were right in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

      They can’t predict that Vettel will throw away the 2017 and 2018 season.

      Or that Ferrari couldn’t figure out how to setup the car at the start of 2019 or how to not crash or break etc the car if they were fastest (Bahrain, Baku, Canada).

      Or that 2020 Red Bull was indeed well ahead, but also suffered inability to setup the car properly. Plus due to COVID delays, Mercedes got extra time to improve the issues they had during testing.

  10. It appears that Red Bull could be ahead on this track in terms of single-lap pace. But on race pace, it looked like Mercedes was slightly better than them. In 2019, the W10 was not a stable car in Australia, but it was extremely quick. Throughout that season though, that car was just the best in race trim. Also Mercedes have not been really dominant at Bahrain ever since the post-Rosberg time in qualifying, but in races they were more than a match or even faster than Ferrari and Red Bull.

    Although what is for sure, we could have a fight this season. Next thing is Red Bull win Bahrain and then Mercedes wins all the remaining races…

  11. Can’t wait to see Red Bull wrapping up the title in their B car

  12. Yeah, and odds on, they’ll be racing an upgraded package within a race that magically solves every issue and puts them half a second clear of the field again.

    Credit where it’s due, though, they’ve at least made it look a bit more convincing this time around.

  13. Who are they kidding?

  14. if you start sliding, you tend to lose grip

    And stupid me always thought it was the other way around.

  15. I’m a bit surprised at the level of cynicism here inspired by Mercedes’s dominance over the past few years. Their lap times were slow, and by their own admission and everyone else’s observations, the rear-end of the car is unstable. Could they not simply have gotten it wrong for once?
    I personally don’t expect Mercedes to be near the podium, at least not for the first few races. This should be an interesting season in terms of different cars fighting at the front, but in terms of the championship, this could be a very boring Verstappen walkover. I rate Perez pretty highly, but it remains to be seen whether he can be as close to Verstappen as Rosberg and Bottas have been to Hamilton.

    1. Yes they could have got it wrong.
      But the problem is they repeatedly, and constantly, play down their chances whilst simultaneously dominating the sport.

      Hamilton’s tyres are always dead. They’re dead 30 laps before he pits, and during those 30 laps he’s smashing in the purple sectors.

      It’s hardly surprising that we’ve all heard this before and aren’t convinced.
      Maybe there is an imbalance in the car, but the sceptics amongst us will expect that to be magically resolved by Q3 next weekend.

      1. @adrianmorse I take your point.

        @johnnik I take your point.

        And boy do I love the sound of ‘next weekend.’

        1. Haha Robbie I can’t wait!

      2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        19th March 2021, 18:31

        @johnnik This Hamilton tyre thing is completely over blown. If you actually dig down into it, Lewis has developed a heightened feeling of what the tyres are doing and is now one of the best tyre management drivers ever. When he tells the team the tyres don’t feel good he is giving them info they had not previously had, i.e. in the team briefing they say the tyres should do this. He then on track says the tyres are doing something you didn’t brief me on. He then adjusts his driving to compensate. He’s not sandbagging or obfuscating. You’re listening to a driver that can feel the rubber peeling away lap by lap and anticipating a need to adjust to circumstances that are different to the team’s projections. Monaco 2019 iis a perfect example. He says the tyres are dead and a few laps later there are massive blister strips all round the middle of the tyre. He feels that before you see that.
        There is always a push by teams to hide their performance from their competitors. This isn’t that. This is a driver that can feel a tyre like no other driver.

        1. @davewillisporter I think Max is awfully good at that too. And let’s keep in mind LH has had the luxury of often being out front and being able to control the pace more, in a car that is more on rails and thus moving around less, both by virtue of it being a great car, and by him being in dirty air much less of the time. Just saying one of Max’s virtues is also adapting sector by sector, lap after lap, and he has to do it in a lesser car, less planted in the back end last year for example, and while fighting more than LH generally has to.

  16. My guess is gearbox or gear ratio issues or engine to pedal mapping or combination of these is delivering too much power, too soon, to the tyres. I am sure the Mercedes super computers are fixing the problem as everyone sleeps and will come up with more than one second of a lap before the first qualifying.

  17. could it just be that merc era is coming to an end ?

    it has to end sometime.. may be 2021 is the one..

    even as a lewis fan, i would love for this to go down to the last lap of the season…

  18. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    18th March 2021, 22:08

    ESPN F1 had the best video from the Incredibles – go watch it now.

  19. As others have said, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, fool me 7+ times… Considering mercedes keep sandbagging and lying about their performance, this doesn’t convince me, I want to see qualifying and maybe even the first race before believing they’re in trouble.

    1. And even during qualifying don’t get any hopes on before the first lap of q3, cause usually they don’t push at all till then.

    2. F1oSaurus (@)
      20th March 2021, 10:30

      @esploratore How have they been sandbagging? Ferrari was faster in 2017, 2018 and 2019. They just messed up on the driver side and in 2019 both drivers plus team messed it all up in the extreme. They got pole by a big margin in race 2, Leclerc crashed in Baku when he was destined to take pole, Vettel spun of in Canada throwing away a win.

      That Hamilton simply keeps his car on track and benefits from the other failing, even when driving a faster car, does not mean Mercedes were sandbagging at any point.

      In 2020 pre-season testing Red Bull was clearly the fastest, but they were unable to set up the car properly for the first few races and Mercedes got extra time to fix their issues due to the COVID delayed start of the season.

  20. Whilst I’m still convinced Mercedes will win both championships this year one thing is apparent. They’re going to have to spend more time developing this years car than they would have liked. That could mean it takes precious R&D time away from developing next years car meaning that the 2022 season could be an absolute cracker (heres hoping anyway).

  21. I’d love to believe they were in trouble as that would set the stage for a much closer fight than we’ve had over the last few years, but realistically we’ve heard this from them before and then watched them blow the field away and waltz to both championships uncontested. So, whether the season is going to be closer or whether Mercedes are actually in trouble is a question to be answered after the first race.

  22. “Bono, these are gone, don’t think we’ll make it to end”

  23. History doesn’t necessarily have to repeat itself.

    Red bull have improved in two critical areas, stable car and capable line up.

    I expect a good fight this year. Hopefully drivers and tactics can prove the differentiator.

  24. W12 isn’t the best name for a F1 car. It just reminds me of the Life F1 team and engine in 1990.

    Even if this car isn’t up to Mercedes recent standards it won’t be that bad…

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