Mercedes is embarked on its toughest fight in F1

Mercedes suspected as early as last winter that this year could be more difficult than any since the beginning of its domination in 2014. While the engineers of the World Champion team at Brackley worked hard at the Development of the W12, the last of this era before sweeping rule changes were introduced for 2022, the numbers coming out of the computers weren’t very encouraging. Not only did the rule changes over the winter seriously affect her car, the gains she was getting by seeking more performance were not as great as before.

There was concern, but at that point Mercedes was unsure if their rivals were suffering from the same issues. Then, during winter testing in Bahrain, the team realized that they were much further behind than the others. So much so that Red Bull – who despite a convincing victory in the last race of 2020 in Abu Dhabi, had been well over half a second per lap slower than Mercedes during the year 2020 on average pace qualifying – now clearly had a faster car.

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