Valtteri Bottas has given details of the extensive work he and Mercedes have been putting in on the simulator in the hope of improving their performance against Red Bull.
The Silver Arrows were almost four-tenths of a second slower than Max Verstappen in qualifying at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. Since then, Bottas has been testing out different set-up options in a bid to further improve the performance of the car.
"I went between the races to Brackley, to the simulator, tried to work on the set-up, trying to find answers, trying to achieve as much as I can really and unlock the performance," the Finn told RacingNews365.com and other select media.
"I lost count of how many set-up items we tried in the simulator."
With restrictions on development during 2021, Bottas admits that the team have had to plan to ensure that they get the most out of what they have available to them. However, he remains hopeful that Mercedes can still close the gap to Red Bull.
"Coming here I think we have a good toolbox we have to choose from," Bottas explained. "But for sure it’s not like a couple of years ago where you could go all the time and a few days in a row, et cetera. Within the restrictions, within the situation, we’re trying to make the most out of it.
"It’s the same for the team, we are really restricted on the development time so efficiency and planning is really the key.
"This year I think the rate of development if we compare to last year or especially two or three years back, as a fact it’s going to be less. Less time in the wind tunnel, less time for the engines in the dyno, everything. So things are much more based on simulations.
"I still believe we can catch them. I believe from the feeling that I have in the car that there’s more to unlock from it if we can get the balance right. If we can get the car a bit more drive-able, the through-corner balance to be better, I think really understanding and fine-tuning the set-up, already there’s still more to come."