8X WCC champions Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team have not been up to the mark in the first entry of the season at Sakhir in the Bahrain GP. The constructor issued an open letter apologizing to the fans for underperforming and gave hope by mentioning that changes were underway at Mercedes.
The results, complemented by 7X WDC champion Lewis Hamilton’s comments have become a source of anxiety for the fans of the Silver Arrows. Hamilton finished in 5th place behind Carlos Sainz from Ferrari. George Russell finished in 7th place trailing behind Lance Stroll of Aston Martin, who is their customer team but yielded results. Mercedes is in 3rd place behind Red Bull and Aston Martin.
Toto Wolff’s expectations for Saudi Arabia
After the setback in Bahrain, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff gave fans a ray of hope. He expects a better race pace on the side of Mercedes at Jeddah because it is different from the Bahrain circuit. According to Wolff, Bahrain is a ‘rear-limited’ circuit that requires rapid braking and acceleration. On the other hand, the Jeddah circuit is more of a ‘front-limited’ track that might serve the W14 well.
Source:https://t.co/GljcUGexuC— Fastest Pitstop (@FastestPitStop) March 14, 2023
Wolff commented that “That track [in Bahrain] is very rear-limited, it has a very abrasive asphalt, and that is probably the weakest point in our car.”
“I certainly think when it comes down to the front-limited track, we will [have] a much better pace.” He continued.
It is essential to note that Jeddah is a much more free-flowing circuit, with similar trends in tracks such as Silverstone in England and Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. It features only two heavy braking zones on the track. Front-limited circuits, therefore, inflict greater damage on the front tires.
However, another important factor to note is that the current champions, Red Bull had minimal problems with their tires in Bahrain and both their drivers cruised effortlessly.
We’re together through thick and thin – from Toto, Lewis and George, to every single woman and man in the factories in Brackley and Brixworth. And we love the challenge. 💪— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) March 11, 2023
We have a message for you, Team ❤️👇
It is confirmed that Mercedes will make upgrades to the car in Jeddah. The constructor plans to develop their W14 in the next few races including tweaks to the aerodynamics. At the Emiglia-Romagna GP, Mercedes will also make a few changes to the car at the wind tunnel. The car has been suffering since their decision in 2022 in which they decided to use a zero-pod design unique to the whole grid.
Even their customer team, Aston Martin has used a side pod design similar to that of Red Bull and seems to be getting better out of the powertrain on track.
It will be tough to expect a title-contending fight from Mercedes any time soon but the open letter assured fans that there is a long way ahead and that tweaks are already in progress.
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