Mercedes: No immediate answers for "weak" rear end of W12 F1 car

Mercedes says it had no immediate answers for what caused the rear-end of its W12 Formula 1 car to be so unstable through pre-season testing, calling it "weak".

Mercedes: No immediate answers for "weak" rear end of W12 F1 car

Mercedes suffered a couple of setbacks across the three-day test in Bahrain last week, losing running on the opening day to a gearbox issue.

Lewis Hamilton then suffered a spin into the gravel on the second day of testing, with both the Briton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas reporting instability with the rear of the car throughout the test.

Neither driver featured near the top of the timesheets in the final test classification as Red Bull's Max Verstappen set the fastest time.

Speaking about the rear-end issues with the W12 car in Mercedes' testing debrief video, chief strategist James Vowles revealed there were no immediate answers as to what was causing the problems.

"It was pretty evident from that, that the car was handling poorly, and conversely the Red Bull in fact was a very stable car especially through the last sector of the lap," Vowles explained.

"I think that's a fair observation. It was visible to the outside and I would say the laptimes mirrored that as well.

"But it's also fair to say that we don't have answers as we are sat here now, it is just 24 hours after the end of the test. Huge amounts of data available to us and now a long journey ahead to try and understand what was causing that."

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin explained how the weather conditions in Bahrain made it difficult for the drivers, with a number of them struggling in the high winds.

But he also noted that Mercedes' rivals were not having such pronounced issues with the rear of their cars, making it clear the team has work to do to rectify the issue.

"The wind made it tricky," Shovlin said. "When the wind is behind the car, you lose a lot of downforce because effectively the air speed is reduced, so some corners where the wind was behind, it was prone to doing that.

"Then also the tyres are quite easy to overheat on that circuit and if you start sliding, you tend to lose grip and it gets worse. So, there are a few problems.

"Importantly, we could see that some of our competitors weren't struggling in the same way as us, so we need to put quite a focus on understanding why the rear end was a bit weak, how we can get it more stable and predictable and that work is going on now.

"Hopefully when we get to the race weekend it won't be so difficult for the drivers because they were having to work pretty hard to do the lap times that they were doing."

Mercedes completed a filming day with the W12 car in Bahrain on Tuesday, giving it a final shakedown ahead of the opening race next weekend.

shares
comments

Related video

Perez recalls being ‘kicked out’ of Red Bull junior test

Previous article

Perez recalls being ‘kicked out’ of Red Bull junior test

Next article

The forgotten member of F1’s greatest rookie crop

The forgotten member of F1’s greatest rookie crop
Load comments
Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Plus

Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. STUART CODLING weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Plus

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Plus

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with Plus

The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with

OPINION: After consecutive street races with contrasting highlights, one theme stood out which has become a prevalent issue with modern Formula 1 cars. But is there a way to solve it or, at least, reach a happy middle ground to help all parties?

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The changes behind a ‘feel-good’ F1 result in Baku Plus

The changes behind a ‘feel-good’ F1 result in Baku

OPINION: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix had elements that make Formula 1 really exciting – unpredictability and shock results. This resulted in heartbreak for several of the championship’s regular contenders and joy for others who rarely reach the ultimate limelight. And one of those on the Baku podium is riding a wave of form he’s keen to continue

Formula 1
Jun 9, 2021
The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds Plus

The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds

OPINION: With the global pandemic still lingering, Singapore's grand prix has been cancelled for 2021, with more looking likely to follow. Although Formula 1 has TV deals and profits to chase, retaining a 23-race calendar could be most harmful to those who sacrifice the most for the championship

Formula 1
Jun 8, 2021
Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An eventful weekend in Baku full of incident and drama lent the race result an unusual feel, as three drivers scored their first podiums of the year. But it wasn't the eventual race winner who scored top marks in our driver ratings

Formula 1
Jun 7, 2021
How three drivers 'won' the Azerbaijan GP Plus

How three drivers 'won' the Azerbaijan GP

Formula 1's return to Baku after a year away had thrown up an eventful qualifying marred by four red flags, but the race appeared to be running to a familiar Red Bull vs Mercedes template entering the closing stages. That is, until a dramatic conclusion where victory was snatched away from two drivers, before landing in the lap of Sergio Perez

Formula 1
Jun 7, 2021