Mercedes Struggle With Gearbox Woes on First Day of F1 Testing in Bahrain

Published 03/12/2021, 4:04 AM EST
MONTMELO, SPAIN – Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W10 during day three of F1 Winter Testing at Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)


Mercedes launched their car on the March 3 to quite a bit of fanfare. But, right as their preseason testing run with the new car for the 2021 season, the W12, was about to start, disaster has struck them. 

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Mercedes have not had a straightforward offseason as there was a lot of uncertainty with regard to Lewis Hamilton. The Brit and the German team were locked in intense negotiations which were only concluded on February 8.

The team has also faced problems behind the scenes in the factory while assembling their challenger for 2021. These problems have been confirmed by their head of power unit development Hywel Thomas in prior interviews.

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Car problems follow Mercedes into pre-season testing for 2021 season

Mercedes, in a Tweet on their Twitter account, confirmed that fans will have wait a little longer for a look at the W12 on track. They’ve said that a problem in transitioning between gears has prompted them to change the gearbox just as testing was about to begin on March 12.


The team will be very happy that this problem cropped up during testing and not during an actual race weekend. However, they will be a bit disappointed as it will eat into their considerably less testing time on the grid.

How teams will need to approach the condensed testing for 2021?

The 2021 season will see preseason testing halved from six days to a mere three. This will prompt teams to think out of the box in terms of how they optimise their testing regimen.

The two key changes for 2021 are the aerodynamic regulations and the tyres manufactured by Pirelli. The aero regulations are basically aimed at reducing downforce on vehicle, which further reduces strain on the tyres. Teams will spend a significant amount of testing in correlating their wind tunnel findings with on track data.

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Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race Pool via REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace

The tyres will also be closely monitored and with them being more firmer than previous seasons, will provide more understeer than usual. So, teams will need to be on top of the slight changes in tyre degradation from last year.

Watching how teams track the data of these key changes will give fans perspective on which cars will be contenders on the track in 2021.

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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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