Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted their deficit to Red Bull is down to more than just aerodynamics.Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to pole position in Bahrain by almost four tenths of a second. Changes to the technical regulations for the 2021 F1 season has left Mercedes trying to recover lost rear downforce.
However Wolff said their cars are also losing out to their Honda-powered rivals on the straights. The M12 power unit is not storing enough energy to be able to fully deploy electrical power when required.
“We’re losing a little bit on the engine side in terms of derates,” said Wolff. “We are not yet in a happy place with our energy recovery. But it’s not one single point where we could say this is a big gap.”
Honda has made gains with its power unit during the off-season, which AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost believes is now almost a match for Mercedes.
“Honda has done a great job,” said Wolff. “They have delivered a power unit that is extremely competitive – look at where AlphaTauri is – and we just have to take it as sportsmen. This is as it looks. You just have to say, well, they’ve done a really good job, full stop.
“But there’s just no other solution than to recover. And I believe that on the derates that you see just this is something we just need to get on top of. That is not easy, but we’ll get there.”
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