Mercedes pace not "good enough" for Imola and Portimao


Mercedes trackside engineering director, Andrew Shovlin fears that his team will struggle at Imola and Portimao, while admitting that the Red Bull has not looked weak at any point so far.

While the rest of us took a deep breath following last Sunday's race before salivating at the thought of battle resuming at Imola, for Mercedes and Red Bull is was business as usual.

While the Austrian team admits that it will "put as much performance onto the car as it possibly can", Mercedes, fully aware that it cannot rely purely on clever strategy and Lewis Hamilton's defensive driving forever, must look to at least re-establish the status-quo.

However, with the RB16B clearly having the advantage of outright pace - as witnessed in testing and for much of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend - trackside engineering director, Andrew Shovlin fears that the W12 will suffer in the high-speed sections of the next two tracks on the calendar.

"We are certainly hoping this is not one of our finest tracks because we have had quite a tough time," said Shovlin in the aftermath of the season opener. "I think we got the car in a decent window by the end, but it's been awfully hard work and if we look at Red Bull through the test and practice, their car has worked really well and not looked weak at any point.

"Hopefully we will find circuits that suit us more than this," he continued, "but looking to Imola and Portimao, I don't think we are good enough in the high-speed and there is plenty of that in Imola and Portimao. That's one area where they have got an advantage on us at the moment."

Nonetheless, Shovlin is confident that there is more to come from the W12.

"We still don't think we have got the best car," he admits, "but we also don't think we have got the most out of the package yet. When you develop the car there are lots of areas you look to exploit performance from and some of them we don't think have delivered everything they should.

"We are going to be working pretty hard to bring performance to the car over the next couple of races. It's going to be tough and at those circuits there are elements that will move us in the right direction, but we have struggled with the rear end in Bahrain and those circuits are a bit easier in that regard, but as I said, high speed is something that we wouldn't be na´ve in thinking that will be a strength of ours at those tracks."

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Published: 05/04/2021
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