Martin Brundle has compared the “lack of confidence” on show at Mercedes to the challenges Liverpool are currently facing in the Premier League, with minor changes having made a seemingly sizeable difference in the past year.
Mercedes fell to third in the Constructors’ Championship last year after Formula 1’s technical regulations reset, and the team took what would later be found to be an ill-advised development direction with the W13 that saw the car bounce its way through the first part of the season.
While they responded and closed the gap to Ferrari and Red Bull as the year progressed, taking a one-two finish in the season’s penultimate race at Interlagos, it looks on first glance like Red Bull still hold an advantage over the rest of the field, on the evidence of pre-season testing.
Quite where Mercedes stand in the pecking order is currently unknown, with representative race running not taking place until this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, but a loss of downforce on the second day of testing prompted meetings within the team to try and rectify the problems they encountered.
They were able to have a smoother time of things on the final day of testing, but are likely to head into the first round of the season not knowing exactly where they will finish come Sunday.
While Mercedes feel some of the words surrounding their testing worries may have been “overly gloomy”, Sky Sports analyst and former Formula 1 driver Brundle feels the Silver Arrows need to get any problems sorted quickly if they are to mount a title challenge this season, comparing their drop in form to how Liverpool have fallen away from the pace in the Premier League this season.
“It’s an evolution of the car that they struggled with a little bit last year and obviously they knew where to go to sort the fundamental issues out,” Brundle said on The F1 Show on Sky Sports.
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“But I think we all expected them to turn up and be right there in terms of drivability and reliability and all the [other] things.
“But it’s odd, isn’t it, in a team. You know, look at Liverpool right now for example, or just little nuances, a couple of changes of personnel and philosophy, maybe a lack of confidence, and that’s what I’m seeing at Mercedes at the moment because I thought last year they would just ace that car really quickly.
“It looked when we saw it in the paddock a year ago, it’s like, ‘nobody’s going to see that for dust’, which was wrong.
“So clearly, they’ve still got to finesse it, and they need to do it early because remember last year, Verstappen didn’t score any points in two the first three races and still smashed the World Championship, so they’ll need to need to get in there quickly, will Mercedes-Benz, and sort it.”