Mercedes identify key performance areas after completing ‘ambitious programme’

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton tests the Mercedes W14. Bahrain February 2023.

2023 Bahrain Pre-Season Test, Day 1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes. - LAT Images

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin spoke of his encouragement at the team’s overall performance on the first day of testing in Bahrain, saying the W14 ran “faultlessly” all day.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton completed 152 laps between them on Thursday in Bahrain, with team principal Toto Wolff also reporting back that the porpoising problem which plagued their 2022 car was not present on its successor, on early evidence.

Shovlin acknowledged, however, that the team will still act as if they are playing “catch up” to Red Bull and Ferrari in front, as they had to do for much of last season, as a competitive pecking order is difficult to garner when different tyres, fuel loads and engine modes are in play in testing.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen topped the timesheets and completed the most laps of anyone on the day, with a full day behind the wheel culminating in 157 laps as he went about a strong return to the track himself.

But from a Mercedes standpoint, their own runs also went according to plan as the W14 got its first full day of track action in Sakhir, and they hope for more of the same on Friday and Saturday.

“We’ve had a solid start to testing. The car has run faultlessly from start to finish and that has allowed us to complete an ambitious programme for day one,” Shovlin said after the first day of running.

“It always takes a few days to understand a new car, but we’ve got a reasonable handle on where we want to improve the balance. It was encouraging that it’s a much calmer, more stable platform to work with than the W13.

“The performance picture is always blurred after the first day so it’s impossible to say where we stand, but we’ve already identified several key areas where we can find some performance. recommends

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“We’ll work on the assumption that we’re playing catch up and need to pull out all the stops to find performance ahead of the first race here in one week’s time.

“The next two days are going to be just as packed as today as we’re squeezing every bit of learning we can into the programme.

“Hopefully the car continues to run like clockwork, and we can make the most of the remaining track time.”