Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes alarmed by ‘strange loss of downforce’ in Bahrain

Mercedes made a solid start to pre-season testing on the opening day, before issues arose on the second day in Bahrain.

Ahead of the forthcoming campaign where Mercedes must bounce back, the Germans are seemingly in panic mode following a nightmare second day at the official pre-season test in Bahrain, where several issues were experienced.

The Silver Arrows actually made a strong start to the test at the Bahrain International Circuit and enjoyed a positive opening day, before it all went wrong on day two.

Russell was forced to pull the W14 off the circuit during his stint in the car on Friday following a hydraulic problem, which was later revealed to have not been Mercedes’ only problem.

Auto Motor und Sport revealed that the Germans also experienced a “strange loss of downforce”, with the team having been seen having a crisis meeting at the end of the day.

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“Apart from the hydraulic issue Mercedes also suffered from a strange loss of downforce on the front axle. The cause couldn’t be identified yet,” said Auto Motor und Sport journalist Tobi Grüner.

“Hope is that the night service comes up with an explanation,” he added.

Day three was much smoother for the Brackley-based team, with Russell having set the second fastest time in the morning session.

Their day two woes can’t be avoided, though, with the team certainly having work to do before the season opener back in Bahrain next weekend.

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Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin admitted that the side weren’t pleased with their second day performance, with the hope being that they “can understand” why the W14 struggled during the final day of testing.

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“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,” said Shovlin.

“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.”