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

“Not a strong day” for Mercedes after handling woes and hydraulic failure

2023 F1 season

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Mercedes are investigating more than just the hydraulic failure which cost them an hour and a half of running during the second day of testing in Bahrain.

The team also admitted it experienced difficulty getting its car balanced at the Bahrain International Circuit which will hold next week’s season-opening race.

“We’ve not had a strong second day,” trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin admitted. “Stopping on track with a reliability issue wasn’t great and we have struggled to get the car balanced well across the changing conditions.

“We’ve got some investigations going on to understand why this has been such a challenge today when yesterday it was fairly straightforward. That work will continue into the night and no doubt we’ll understand more come the morning.”

The team has one day of testing left to assess how well it understands its new car. “It will be interesting tomorrow to see if we can understand the drop in performance and mitigate the lost track time,” said Shovlin.

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023 pre-season test
Gallery: Pre-season testing day two in pictures
Lewis Hamilton ran early in the day when conditions at the track were at their hottest, warmer than they will be during next week’s night race. He said he had a “difficult morning” in the W14.

“The hot temperatures made it challenging with the tyres overheating, as we often see here in Bahrain. We got through our run plan though and it was good to get that mileage in.”

While Hamilton managed 72 laps, George Russell covered just 26 after the hydraulic failure which forced him to stop. However he expects to see progress on Saturday, when the pair will share the car again.

“Even though we didn’t complete our full programme, we uncovered some interesting things in the data throughout the day,” he said. “That is a positive and we will analyse these overnight with the aim of finding lap time.

“We haven’t unlocked everything yet in the W14 and everyone is working hard to do so and maximise our final day of testing tomorrow.”

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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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5 comments on ““Not a strong day” for Mercedes after handling woes and hydraulic failure”

  1. i can only say that Mike Elliott is a great aerodynamicist but under average technical director. Understanding by definition means that you know how some elements within the context interact and how they influence the very context they’re part of. There is great knowledge and experience within this team but reshuffling rules for the 2022. has thrown them out of rails. They’ll catch up eventually but that’s not the way to win the championship.

  2. I know it’s early days but Mercedes already seem to be well on the back foot whereas their main competitors are cruising.

  3. Even if Mercedes start the season on the back foot (which seems likely), hopefully, they stay close enough in points to use RBR’s wind tunnel time handicap for good when the effect truly shows further into the season.

  4. I rather they have all the issues during testing than when the races start. They can then at least know what their problems are and try to sort out

    1. I’d rather have a fast car with problems, than a slow car with problems. Problems can be ironed out or mitigated. Making a slow car fast, is much more difficult.
      Considering how easily RB are cruising to top of the charts, with no problems to speak of, I’m afraid MB are in for another year of catching up. At least 0.5 down on RB, more likely 6 or 7 tenths.
      As a Hamilton and MB fan, I really hope I’m wrong though.

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