Andrew Shovlin has said that “too many cars were ahead” of Mercedes on the final day of Formula 1 pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit.
The reigning world champions suffered a number issues across the three days, with a gear box problem on day one limiting their running and both drivers struggling to control the car’s loose rear end.
Lewis Hamilton had a spin on both Saturday and Sunday and while the seven-time world champion said he is not getting worried just yet, he acknowledged that the team could be facing fierce competition in 2021.
Speaking after the conclusion of the three-day test, Shovlin said that Mercedes had improved their balance on higher fuel, but were not quite happy with their low fuel pace.
“We’ve had another day with good reliability where we were able to run to plan throughout the day,” Shovlin said. “Valtteri was doing long run setup work in the morning and Lewis doing a mix of long run work and qualifying work in the afternoon.
“We’ve made a bit of progress with the balance on higher fuel and the car was more predictable but we can see from the data we’ve collected over the last few days that on race pace, we’re not as quick as Red Bull. The lower fuel work was a more confusing picture, we didn’t gain enough and we need to go and look at our approach as far too many cars were ahead of us on pace today.
“We’ve had issues in recent years with pace in winter testing and managed to make good progress before the first race but we may have our work cut out this time. We’ve not got long before we’re back here for the race so we’ve planned a programme of work to try and understand some of our issues and will be leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to find some more speed over the next ten days.”
The 2021 season gets underway on March 28 in Bahrain.