Mercedes Explain Phenomenal Turnaround After F1 Testing Struggles

Published 05/13/2021, 9:42 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – May 2, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race REUTERS/Juan Medina


Mercedes are one of the most dominant teams to step foot in Formula One. With seven back-to-back constructor’s titles, the Silver Arrows are favorites to finish at the top this season as well. However, their season did not have the start they would’ve wanted for themselves.

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Despite their prowess, they were second best to Red Bull during pre-season testing in Bahrain. In addition, Max Verstappen took pole position in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

However, Mercedes have stepped up their game since then and returned strongly to the top, with two wins in the following three races. A senior member of Mercedes gave an insight into their turnaround.

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Mercedes emphasize on their improvement in long runs

Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director, Andrew Shovlin, spoke about how they improved their package after the Bahrain test. He pointed out that their long-run performance helped them take victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, despite Verstappen taking pole position.

Shovlin said, “When we went back to Bahrain, while we weren’t the quickest, that was clearly Red Bull and we saw that in qualifying. But we did have a car in a place that we could actually compete with them. We had improved the long runs significantly and that was really the thing that allowed us to win that first race in Bahrain.”

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Chasing as many milliseconds as we can: Shovlin

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The name of the game for Mercedes is improving as much as possible. They understand that gaining as many milliseconds as possible is crucial to winning titles, which is something Shovlin points out.

He said, “We are looking for small improvements really. There is so little between us and Red Bull, that every few milliseconds we are chasing after.”

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 27, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during qualifying REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

However, he attributed their understanding of the issues as the most important aspect of their turnaround. The Briton said, “A bit of it is performance that we are bolting on with upgrades, but a lot of it was really just understanding the issues and getting the car into a good place and allowing the drivers to have a car that they have confidence in and they can push to the limits.”

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Mercedes have led the way when it comes to innovation in Formula One. This season, their progression speaks volumes for their reputation. And with the Monaco Grand Prix up next, Shovlin made it clear that “there is more to come.”

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Sanket Nair

643 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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