‘Aston Martin had Red Bull worried from day one’

Mercedes have struggled with a number of reoccurring issues during Bahrain pre-season testing.

The 2022 season was an absolute disaster by Mercedes’ standards, with the team limping to a third-place finish in the constructors’ championship with only a single race win to their name.

The Silver Arrows struggled to find the best development pathway under the new regulations and were left with a W13 which lacked performance and harboured a major porpoising issue.

During the three days of testing in Bahrain last week, Mercedes seem to have tackled the porpoising issue, with the W14 seeming like a much smoother car than the W13.

The team have been unable to shake some other issues which plagued them last season however, with George Russell retiring from one of his sessions with a hydraulic issue, the same issue which put Lewis Hamilton out of last season’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

READ: Aston Martin react to claim they’ve leapfrogged Mercedes

The balance of the W14 was also something which Mercedes struggled with over pre-season, leaving the team some way behind Red Bull and Ferrari going into the season opener this weekend.

Aston Martin have been very impressive during pre-season and Sky Sports pundit Ted Kravitz has suggested that Mercedes will have to improve before the Bahrain Grand Prix if they wish to avoid being leapfrogged by Aston Martin.

“I’ve got Aston Martin third and potentially even a little bit closer to Ferrari. That’s to do with Fernando Alonso’s race run,” said Kravitz when asked for his post-testing team rankings.

“In Saturday’s Bahrain GP [long runs] such as it was, it would have been Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso on the podium ahead of the Ferraris and the Mercedes.

Article continues below

“Aston Martin had Red Bull worried from day one, Adrian Newey mentioned them in the teams he’s concerned about, the car is essentially good, it has some nice ideas. Alonso’s race run on Saturday was *chef’s kiss*.

“I’m going to be slightly reticent and say that Aston Martin are third and Mercedes are fourth at the moment.

READ: Christian Horner’s George Russell and Lewis Hamilton prediction resurfaces

“We need to see a big step from Mercedes over the next few days for them to be solidly third.”

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack has urged fans not to get ahead of themselves, explaining that testing runs are not entirely reflective of a team’s performance and potential.

While Krack admits that his team has been impressive during pre-season, he has opted not to put any expectations on his drivers heading into the first race of the season.