Mercedes news: Team launches late nigh investigation into unexpected performance loss

Toto Wolff stated to F1.TV earlier in the day that the W14 had not been acting as the team and drivers would have liked.

Toto Wolff in a file photo. (Image: Twitter)
By Nilavro Ghosh | Feb 25, 2023 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Mercedes opened an investigation into its puzzling performance decline on day two of the Formula 1 preseason test in Bahrain, and the company anticipates working well into the night on Friday. The first day of testing for the German manufacturer was encouraging, but things started to go wrong on Friday as it struggled to strike a good balance with the W14. Lewis Hamilton was three tenths slower than Guanyu Zhou at the end of the day, while George Russell finished the day down in 13th place. An additional obstacle to Mercedes’ efforts was a hydraulic issue that Russell experienced late in the day. He was left stranded on the course by the problem, which also halted the team’s running.

There is a sense of urgency to get answers before the final day of action, according to Mercedes, who acknowledged being perplexed about why things changed so strangely during the second day of action. Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said, “We’ve not had a strong second day; stopping on track with a reliability issue wasn’t great and we have struggled to get the car balanced well across the changing conditions.”

“We’ve got some investigations going on to understand why this has been such a challenge today when yesterday it was fairly straightforward. That work will continue into the night and no doubt we’ll understand more come the morning. It will be interesting tomorrow to see if we can understand the drop in performance and mitigate the lost track time.”

Wolff stated to F1.TV earlier in the day that the W14 had not been acting as the team and drivers would have liked. “The car is out of balance this morning,” he said. “And you can see in the driving, leaving [tyre] marks on acceleration. It’s hot and we just didn’t find the right set-up for these conditions, which is part of the learning, I guess, with a new car.”

“Yeah, it definitely is because it’s not the driver who’s overdriving the tyres or pushing it, it’s the car that doesn’t give him enough grip from the rear. So this is something we need to sort out over the course of the journey.”

Russell stated that the team was putting a lot of effort into deciphering the telemetry to determine what went wrong. “Even though we didn’t complete our full programme, we uncovered some interesting things in the data throughout the day,” he said. “That is a positive and we will analyse these overnight with the aim of finding lap time. We haven’t unlocked everything yet in the W14 and everyone is working hard to do so and maximise our final day of testing tomorrow.”