George Russell, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023 pre-season test

First test shows new Mercedes is “much calmer and more stable” than old car

2023 F1 season

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Mercedes are confident they have banished the memories of their troubled 2022 car after a productive first day of testing for the team in Bahrain.

Lewis Hamilton ended the day sixth-fastest while team mate George Russell was ninth. They completed 152 laps between them – just six fewer than Red Bull.

Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said it was a “solid start to testing” for the team which saw its eight-year run of constructors’ championship titles ended by Red Bull in 2022. “The car has run faultlessly from start to finish and that has allowed us to complete an ambitious programme for day one,” he said.

Last year’s car was beset by handling problems from the start and condemned the team to its least successful season under the V6 hybrid turbo regulations it previously dominated. Shovlin is encouraged by what they have seen from the W14 so far.

“It always takes a few days to understand a new car, but we’ve got a reasonable handle on where we want to improve the balance. It was encouraging that it’s a much calmer, more stable platform to work with than the W13.”

Mercedes believe they are now in a position to begin extracting more performance from their chassis with its uniquely narrow sidepod design.

Alexander Albon, Williams, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023 pre-season test
Gallery: 2023 F1 pre-season testing day one in pictures
“The performance picture is always blurred after the first day so it’s impossible to say where we stand, but we’ve already identified several key areas where we can find some performance,” said Shovlin. “We’ll work on the assumption that we’re playing catch-up and need to pull out all the stops to find performance ahead of the first race here in one week’s time.

“The next two days are going to be just as packed as today as we’re squeezing every bit of learning we can into the programme. Hopefully the car continues to run like clockwork, and we can make the most of the remaining track time.”

Hamilton was pleased with the team’s lack of problems. “We had good reliability which contributed to our strong mileage total,” he said. “That is down to the amazing work done back at Brackley and Brixworth.

“We’ve got to keep pushing, focus on ourselves, and stay focused. It’s difficult to know where we are in the order, but we’ll get a better feeling in the days to come.”

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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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  • 7 comments on “First test shows new Mercedes is “much calmer and more stable” than old car”

    1. Old car during testing was awefull so i hope this car is much beter…

    2. Glad they’ve sorted porpoisong, but it’d be pretty incredible if they’ve managed to catch up on development as well

    3. playstation361
      24th February 2023, 8:28

      The car looks cool. Its going to be very tough this year and the looks of it it is going to be the tightest year overall I predict.

      1. Did you mean cool, or ugly..!

        1. playstation361
          24th February 2023, 13:05

          I like the new design actually.

          Last year there was nothing to talk about in the beginning.
          This time things look different.

    4. The McLaren looked very stable last year too. Stable and predictable cars are not always fast. I hope Mercedes are competitive this year but I wouldn’t take the handling characteristics as a sign of speed personally.

      1. Renan Martinuzzo
        24th February 2023, 12:26

        Yes and no.

        It depends of what the overall performance of the car vs the pecking order, how volatile it is on all circuit and conditions throughout the year and how adaptable are the drivers.

    Comments are closed.