Sky Sports F1 pundit Martin Brundle feels Mercedes‘ low-rake concept is taking the focus away from other issues the team have with their W12 car.
We may have seen a familiar sight in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix with Mercedes taking victory, but the key difference on this occasion was the fact it was other factors that contributed to Sir Lewis Hamilton’s race win and not purely down to having a superior car.
While Mercedes made improvements to their W12 after a tricky winter testing period, the general consensus is that the Red RB16B is currently the best car on the grid, especially after the near four-tenth gap between pole-sitter Max Verstappen and Hamilton in qualifying.
Much has been made of how the new aerodynamic regulations for the 2021 season have favoured those teams that have a high-rake concept, like Red Bull, while the low-rake cars, Mercedes and Aston Martin, have become notably slower.
But Brundle suspects there are more reasons in play as to why Mercedes are seemingly not has dominant as they have been in previous years.
Just going to post this video of W12 and see what happens… pic.twitter.com/ExByvhnybO
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) April 8, 2021
“I think the rake thing is a little bit of a distraction and I think the Mercedes is not really working that well at the moment,” Brundle told Motorsport.com.
“Red Bull and Honda are working particularly well, as are a few other cars.
“The regulations mean you can’t just keep throwing new upgrades at it every week like they have perhaps done in the past, but Mercedes will get it together.
“[Lewis] Hamilton and Mercedes are still the combo to beat for the world championship.”
Red Bull and Max Verstappen will be heading into round two at Imola this week as the favourite by many, but Brundle thinks it would be foolish to completely write off Mercedes despite their issues.
He added: “I wouldn’t underestimate Mercedes. I mean everybody is talking about rake and how it has damaged Mercedes and therefore Aston Martin, but unless I’m mistaken, a Mercedes won the race in Bahrain with Red Bull having dominated the last race last year.
“I think it will be really close, they will sort the Mercedes out.
“Hamilton was absolutely magnificent in Bahrain and for me he won the race as much as anybody else lost it, or any team lost it.
“I really don’t know who will be best around Imola and that is the wonderful thing about live sport.”