Mercedes Didn’t Run a Revised F1 Nose Design in Bahrain Shakedown

Published 03/17/2021, 3:47 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 12, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


Mercedes endured a very frustrating preseason testing program held at Bahrain. Despite these apparent struggles, rival teams are wary to take the situation at face value and fear that this may be a ‘sandbagging’ tactic by the team. This fear has lead to people on social media posting pictures of alleged perceived changes to the Mercedes car after testing.

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The German team were left to rue the stop-start nature of their program. Gearbox problems plagued Valtteri Bottas on day one of testing while day two saw Lewis Hamilton spin out, bringing out the red flags. Day three saw another spin for Hamilton, which just capped a terrible three days.

Mercedes resorting to subversion tactics?

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A picture was posted by Valtteri Bottas on his Instagram story, which featured the nose of his car. The nose appeared to be different from the one used for testing. This lead to fans on social media being in a frenzy over Mercedes sandbagging the Bahrain test. 

But this tweet by Tobi Gruner has allayed fears of that. He puts it down to the angle/lighting making the nose look different from usual.


Either way, people are puzzled by Mercedes’ poor performance during testing. Skepticism has also reigned supreme, and rightly so, because the team have taken that route and sandbagged before. 

In 2019, they didn’t have the smoothest testing program, which led to Ferrari being hailed as the favorites. This narrative was fueled further when they ‘conceded’ that the Ferrari was the quicker car.

But as soon as the season kicked off, the German team reeled off eight successive wins in the first eight races.

Why do the German team appear to be in trouble?

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Putting Mercedes’ history of sandbagging aside, there were signs of worry during the test. Even if Mercedes are not the fastest car during the test, they almost always manage to clock in the most laps. However, in the recently concluded testing, they completed the least laps of any team.

Formula One F1 – Pre-Season Testing – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Add to this the fact that this was a short three-day test compared to the normal six-day regime. Why would Mercedes look to self-sabotage whatever little data they get to get involved in subterfuge? These are signs which point toward genuine problems.

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Anyway, Mercedes appear to have big problems to solve with less than 10 days to go for the season opener in Bahrain. They will be hoping they resolve it by then, because if they don’t, their 2021 campaign would be in deep trouble.

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Ashish Thomas

211 articles

Ashish Thomas is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having followed motorsports since age 5, Ashish holds an enviable knowledge of F1 history. Ashish holds extensive experience in sports writing, having previously worked for SportsQuest and Fansided.

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