Mercedes admit to slowing W14 down in Bahrain testing

Mercedes were the slowest in the speed trap during pre-season testing, alarming some Lewis Hamilton fans.

Mercedes technical director Mike Elliot has revealed that the team’s poor straight-line speed from pre-season testing isn’t a true reflection of the W14’s actual speed, with the Germans having purposefully slowed Lewis Hamilton and George Russell down.

After having been one of the slowest teams in a straight-line last season, the straight-line speed data from last week’s pre-season testing didn’t make for great reading, with Mercedes having been slowest according to Auto Motor und Sport.

Whilst Mercedes featured at the bottom, Ferrari and Red Bull were both at the top, with the duo having maintained their great speed from 2022.

The Brackley-based team’s straight-line speed may not actually be as bad as the data suggests, though, with Elliot having revealed after testing that the team ran a large double spoon rear wing for better data collection and correlation.

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Ferrari and Red Bull on the other hand, ran medium load rear wings, meaning that Mercedes will be closer to the duo once they fit the correct rear wing to the W14 for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

“We were probably not wearing the wing we wear when we come racing,” Elliott told Sky Sports F1 reporter Ted Kravitz.

The technical director maintained that the team didn’t do “any work” on downforce levels during the three-day test, with the side having run at a constant level throughout the test.

It all ultimately means that Mercedes have got more pace and better straight-line speed in their locker; however, it remains to be seen what Ferrari and Red Bull also have left.

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Elliot added that the team’s focus during testing was purely to “understand” the W14, so that they can quickly solve any issues that arise this season.

“We’ve developed the car’s [aerodynamic] efficiency quite a lot over the winter,” he explained.

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“Where we choose to run the race is about how we think is the best way to run the race. 

“Obviously in testing, it’s just about trying to understand and so we’ve not done any work moving up and down in terms of downforce level. 

“We’ve kept it constant and tried to get all the data we can from the car to understand as much as we can and the issues we may face, and just build from there.”