Innovative Mercedes catch the eye after impressive Bahrain practice display

Uros Radovanovic
George Russell at the wheel of the Mercedes W15 in Bahrain testing.

George Russell drives the Mercedes W15.

After the winter break, F1 is finally in action!

The first race of the season will take place in Bahrain, where engineers and drivers have also tested their new cars.

So, let’s take a look at some technical details of the cars, as well as analysis from the first two practices to see how each team is preparing for Saturday.

Bahrain GP: Sakhir a true racing track

By its specifications, Bahrain is a very interesting and “true” racing track. It features both slow and fast turns, as well as long straights, making it a challenging task for engineers to adapt to these conditions. We can expect a setup with medium downforce levels for both front and rear wings.

The uniqueness of this track lies in the fact that it starts when the sun sets, making the second half of the track essentially a night race.

This means that the asphalt temperature will drop at some point, which can disrupt the tyre performance. Additionally, the track surface is very abrasive, which led Pirelli to opt for the hardest available tyres – C1, C2, and C3.

Comparing it with the characteristics of last year’s cars, this type of track seems to suit Red Bull the most. They convincingly won here a year ago, with Max finishing first and Perez second.

However, the first race of the season is always exciting due to many factors that are not yet known to engineers, and certainly to us as spectators.

Mercedes continue with innovative ideas

After the second practice in Bahrain, Mercedes fans have a reason to rejoice as Lewis Hamilton and George Russell secured first and second positions.

Mercedes appear very stable on the track and much better than at the beginning of last season.

What attracted a lot of attention is an interesting detail in the front suspension, which Mercedes changed after the first day of testing.

Namely, it involves the geometry of the upper wishbone element, or anti-dive, which significantly affects the balance of the car.

Recall that last year Lewis Hamilton had several complaints about the car’s balance and how he was not satisfied with the seating position.

This year, Mercedes corrected that by moving the entire cockpit backward to achieve a better distribution of mass on the front and rear axles.

However, what Mercedes now has is the ability to adjust the mentioned front suspension element depending on the track configuration. This can give them much greater freedom and is expected to result in a much better balance compared to last year’s W14.

An interesting statistic above showing the difference in lap times compared to last year is another indication that Mercedes seems to be on the right track. recommends

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Different rear wing configurations

As we mentioned, a track requiring a medium level of downforce awaits us to achieve optimal speed in both turns and straights.

In the above image, we can see different configurations of the rear wing for Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren, and Ferrari.

It seems that Red Bull and McLaren have opted for a more loaded approach that will bring them better stability in turns and a greater advantage when using DRS.

These two teams, along with Mercedes, have chosen a much more pronounced spoon-shaped lower element.

In contrast, Ferrari has a much flatter lower element of the rear wing, which will definitely allow them higher top speeds on straights. If we remember last season, Ferrari’s cars performed much better on tracks with long and fast straights.

Another interesting graph is a display of the fastest drivers on different parts of the track from the first practice.

Although most teams were not at their maximum level during the first practice, we can still see some interesting characteristics of the cars.

For example, Ricciardo was the fastest on straights, while McLaren excelled in fast turns in Bahrain.

Alonso was the fastest in slow turns, which is not so surprising, given that the Aston Martin car was also quite good in such types of turns last year.

However, we have not been shown the full picture yet. But, for now, the first and second drafts are very intriguing to look at.

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