Will Lewis Hamilton live to regret Mercedes ‘missing a trick’?

Mercedes had the lowest top speed during pre-season testing last week, partly due to running the wrong rear wing.

Sky Sports F1 reporter Ted Kravitz believes Mercedes have “missed a trick” with their power unit, resulting in the Germans being slower than their opponents in a straight-line.

The Silver Arrows had the lowest top speed during pre-season testing last week and are looking likely to be behind both Red Bull and Ferrari once again.

With Formula 1 currently observing an engine freeze until 2026, Mercedes are unable to improve the performance of their engine; they’re only allowed to fix any reliability issues.

Due to this, Ferrari and Renault built a very powerful but unreliable engine last season, given the fact they could improve the reliability of it under the engine freeze.

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Mercedes on the other hand, designed a very reliable engine, which ultimately didn’t have the same maximum performance as their rivals.

They’re very much paying the price for that now, with both Ferrari and Renault having fixed their reliability problems.

“Given the sport’s engine freeze until 2026, there is a theory around the paddock that, because Mercedes were reliable with their power unit last year, they missed a trick in terms of designing it to be powerful but not reliable and then being able to fix the reliability, which was allowed up until September last year,” Kravitz said in a Sky Sports Q&A.

“Lots of other manufacturers did that. Renault did that, Ferrari did that, Honda did that. It meant that they couldn’t get to the end of the season without using an extra power unit and getting a penalty but they didn’t mind that because they could bring the changes to the engine on reliability but have a secondary benefit of adding a bit more power as well.”

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Kravitz believes that “only time will tell” if Mercedes did opt for the wrong approach with their power unit last season before the engine freeze was introduced, with a lot of it riding on whether Ferrari in particular endure further issues this season.

“Well, you might say hang on, you have gone the other way, you should have gone a bit more performance,” Kravitz continued.

“Take the hit on the engine penalty with reliability but be able to improve that under the engine freeze. But that is not what Mercedes have done and only time will tell if Mercedes live to regret that.”