Mercedes are paying a price for the reduced pre-season, Formula 1 bosses deciding last year to cut testing to just three days to save money.
Surprisingly, that has hurt Mercedes the most.
The team that in the past few years has been the most prolific came up short due to reliability issues and spins. And it was not just Mercedes but also customer team Aston Martin that suffered.
The two Mercedes-powered teams completed the fewest laps of all the teams with Mercedes covering 304 and Aston Martin 314. AlphaTauri, the busiest team, did 422.
Added to that, Mercedes were only fifth on the overall timesheet with Lewis Hamilton’s 1:30.025 more than a second slower than Max Verstappen’s P1 time.
Marko, though, has warned against writing off Mercedes as the team prepare to challenge for an eighth successive double, something you can back by using arbitrage betting to get a good return, before the season begins.
“We have not yet seen the true potential of Mercedes,” Racingnews365 quotes the Red Bull advisor as having told Sky Germany.
“Of course we also learned Mercedes had to deal with gearbox problems and now the second Mercedes team, Aston Martin, too.
“Those problems were electronic in nature but that will be thoroughly investigated.
“Anyway, now we all see the disadvantage of three days of testing.
“If you now stand still for half a day, that is far from ideal.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 14, 2021
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner is in agreement.
He told Motorsport-Total.com: “That’s a class team. Two years ago they also had problems during winter testing, but then they crushed us in Melbourne.
“It’s true that that car didn’t look good on the first two days in Bahrain, but things like that can change very quickly in Formula 1.”
The 2021 season begins next weekend with the Bahrain Grand Prix, after which Formula 1 heads to Imola.