Valtteri Bottas says Mercedes need an upgrade to solve the handling issues that plagued the W10’s first run in testing this week.
Speaking at an event with Mercedes title sponsor Petronas in Italy on Friday, Bottas revealed that the main issue for the team was finding a consistent balance for the car over a whole lap – with some corner highlighting ‘massive’ issues for the W10.
“We have work to do, but it’s a good feeling in the sense that it feels like there is potential,” Bottas told selected media, including Motorsport.com.
“We do need to make improvements.
“We were struggling a bit over the week to find a good balance for all the corners. There were some corners that were good, some corners we would have balance issues and other corners we would have massive balance issues.
“We were getting to a much better state at the end of the week, but some of the handling issues can only be sorted with some upgrades. We’re hoping to fix those hopefully soon.”
Lewis Hamilton believes Ferrari are ahead of the Silver Arrows right now, but that he has the right “soldiers” to take the fight to them.
“At the moment we are behind,” he said.
“So, we don’t approach the first race currently at all relaxed, not that we ever do. We still have a lot of work to do.
“This is going to be the hardest year yet, but I feel I have the best group of people behind to climb that mountain together.
“We are going to face our toughest challenge but I feel like I have the right soldiers behind me.”
Asked what was missing from the car, Hamilton said: “I won’t say! I don’t want the others to know what we do and don’t need.”
Team principal Toto Wolff added further fuel to the fire, claiming the Scuderia were still not operating at full force.
“I think in Barcelona [test] one what we have seen is that Ferrari is ahead of the pack,” he explained.
“The car looks fast and is fast on lap times.
“I think that yesterday they could probably have gone 1.5 seconds faster if they wanted to, and that is the fastest car we have seen in testing so far.
“Then it is pretty much everybody bunched up, which is pretty exciting between all the other teams.
“Now it is about seeing what happens in Barcelona [test] two.
“I have a feeling everybody will bring stuff to the car and then again in Melbourne.
“So, probably only then will you be able to judge the competitive balance and not before.”