Ted Kravitz exposes Mercedes’ Achilles’ heel in Bahrain

Mercedes struggled with the balance of the W14 during pre-season testing.

Pre-season testing in Bahrain was filled with both positives and negatives for Mercedes, with the team clearly delighted that their porpoising problems appear to be a thing of the past.

The W14 is not without its issues however, with George Russell being forces to withdraw from one of his runs due to a hydraulic issue, similar to the one which forced Lewis Hamilton to retire from last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Silver Arrows also struggled with balance issues, with the W14 often struggling during and on the exit of corners.

Both Hamilton and Russell have admitted that losing the car in the corners is a massive issue but have also claimed that they would much rather this than the baffling porpoising problem they had this time last year.

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Sky Sports pundit Ted Kravitz has now suggested that Mercedes’ issues could have been exposed by the characteristics of the Bahrain International Circuit, making their Achilles’ heel track dependant.

“I know I’m going to sound like a boring engineer when I say this, but the Bahrain track is very rear limited,” said Kravitz.

“Which means that it’s all about having a strong rear axle on your car and that there’s lots of opportunities to turn into a corner and have the rear slip away from you.

“That’s Mercedes’ real Achilles’ heel at the moment as the back of their car won’t stick, and so they believe that when they get to a less rear limited circuit than Bahrain, then they will show quicker lap times and Bahrain is probably the most rear limiting circuit, so that’s what’s exposing their issues.

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“So yes, it is a little bit track dependent, but I couldn’t say the same between Ferrari and Red Bull, because they both looked quite happy around Bahrain.”

It has been suggested that when F1 returns to Europe, Mercedes will apply a number of upgrades to the W14 to allow it to compete with the SF-23 and RB19.

Until then, Hamilton and Russell will have to continue where they left off last year, fighting for podiums and taking advantage of any mistakes made by their rivals.