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Mercedes

Are Mercedes genuinely on the back foot with their new car?

Mercedes' apparent pre-season struggles have been discussed on the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast.

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To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Mercedes made the headlines throughout pre-season testing, but not for topping the timesheets, as they battled to get on top of 'porpoising' with their all-new W13.

Amid overhauled technical regulations, which include a switch to a ground effect aerodynamic philosophy, several teams were caught out by the bouncing phenomenon at the first pre-season test in Barcelona.

While some of those outfits, such as Ferrari and Red Bull, appeared to make strides between the two tests, Mercedes faced ongoing issues in Bahrain, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell visibly struggling on track.

The challenging three days of running prompted Hamilton to state that Mercedes will be unable to fight for victories as things stand, admitting that the team have "a lot of work to do" to tame their machine.

Mercedes have shown they can overcome a "diva" car

On the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, host Thomas Maher asked Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Lead Editor Mike Seymour for their thoughts, after Mercedes ended the Bahrain test almost a second off the pace.

Giving his take, veteran F1 journalist Rencken emphasised that while they have some issues to overcome, Mercedes have repeatedly shown their ability to improve a disagreeable car.

"I wouldn't discount Mercedes," said Rencken, as he assessed the pecking order.

"Of course, they do have some issues, but in the past, they've also had issues.

"They had a car called a 'diva' at one stage and they managed to tame that diva. Last year, they spoke about [pre-season] issues, and, of course, [at the first race] in Bahrain, they were good.

"Let's not underestimate Mercedes' ability to resolve any issues. They have enormous strength in depth when it comes to engineering and technical, so they will find a solution."

Not a disaster, but not the fastest car for Mercedes

Seymour reckons the reality is "somewhere in the middle" of what the Silver Arrows and their rivals have been saying, after Ferrari's Carlos Sainz described the pre-season narrative as "typical Mercedes".

"I don't think they're in a disastrous situation by any means," said Seymour.

"It's a whole new set of regulations, so every team has to work through little issues and get on top of their packages. At the same time, it does appear that the porpoising, for example, is more extreme on their car.

"I think it's somewhere in the middle: that it's not as not a disaster, but I don't think they have the fastest car, either.

"You have to have faith that they can work through and turn around any problems."

Listen to the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast below!

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F1 Podcast: Previewing the 2022 Formula 1 season

Ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Mike Seymour and Thomas Maher preview the 2022 season.

F1 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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