Brawn Confesses Mercedes Deliberately Don’t Set ‘the Fastest Lap Times’ in F1 Testing

Published 03/30/2021, 2:00 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 28, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the race with the team Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron


Mercedes were one of the F1 teams that failed to shine over this year’s pre-season testing, with Red Bull running a much pacier car throughout the three-day period. However, the downfall did not stop the team from giving their rivals a hard time at the season-opener, Bahrain Grand Prix.

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It wasn’t just a double-podium finish for Mercedes. The Silver Arrows also secured their first race victory of the season with Lewis Hamilton, who managed mind-blowing defense tactics against the charging bull of Max Verstappen.

So, this strong showing from the defending champions got the fans wondering – where did the disadvantage vanish all of a sudden?

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Wasn’t particularly surprised: Brawn

Speaking to F1, Ross Brawn revealed that he wasn’t surprised by Mercedes’ struggles at the pre-season testing. He reckoned that the Stuttgart-outfit’s aim has never been about setting the fastest lap times.

I wasn’t particularly surprised that Mercedes failed to shine at pre-season testing. When I was at the team, we always had a set of priorities which didn’t involve setting the fastest lap times,” he said.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 28, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas after the race Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron

Analysis of data is so good these days, you can work out where you are. So you don’t need to shine in testing. And in a way having that little deficit drives the team harder.”

Ever since their entry into F1 back in 2010, Mercedes have always followed the strategy of looking weak during the pre-season testing. However, they managed to deliver contrasting results as soon as they march into the championship season.

Mercedes have made impressive progress: Brawn

After what was dull pre-season testing for the defending champions, it was all about success at the Bahrain Grand Prix last weekend. And Brawn is very much confident that Mercedes are back on track after deviating a bit following the enforcement of minor aero changes.

I must say, the car looked a lot better in the race. It had definitely settled down. It’s clear they had made impressive progress in the days between the test and the first race,” Brawn said.

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Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during the race REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

What a massive change of fortunes it has been for Mercedes since the last few weeks. Of course, Red Bull are still ahead in terms of pace.

But if Mercedes manage to pull off yet another strong outing at Imola in weeks’ time, we could be looking at another Mercedes-dominant season.

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So, can Red Bull disrupt the Silver Arrows’ strong start to 2021? Only time will tell.

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Rohit Kumar

646 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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