Sky Sports pundit and former Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle feels Mercedes are using diversionary tactics to deflect attention away from their W12.
Despite Mercedes winning the opening race of the season, the general feeling is that Red Bull's RB16B is a faster machine right now. Mercedes have alluded to losses from changes to the aerodynamic regulations that are, apparently, rewarding cars with a high-rake philosophy, which Mercedes don't have.
The rake refers to the car's floor height, with high-rake cars running with a greater ride height at the back compared to the front. Mercedes, as well as customer team Aston Martin, are less extreme with this angle, and claim this has cost them significant time.
“I think the rake thing is a little bit of a distraction and I think the Mercedes is not really working that well at the moment,” dismissed Brundle, speaking to Motorsport.com.
“Red Bull and Honda are working particularly well, as are a few other cars.
“The regulations mean you can’t just keep throwing new upgrades at it every week like they have perhaps done in the past, but Mercedes will get it together.
“[Lewis] Hamilton and Mercedes are still the combo to beat for the world championship.”
With Red Bull's Bahrain race stymied by a few minor technical issues, as well as an illegal overtaking move from Max Verstappen, Brundle was reluctant to say whether Mercedes might have a tougher time at Imola next week.
“It depends what they do to their car in between times.
“It is obviously more limited as to what you can change anyway now.
“I wouldn’t underestimate Mercedes. I mean everybody is talking about rake and how it has damaged Mercedes and therefore Aston Martin, but unless I’m mistaken, a Mercedes won the race in Bahrain with Red Bull having dominated the last race [in Abu Dhabi] last year.
“I think it will be really close, they will sort the Mercedes out.
“Hamilton was absolutely magnificent in Bahrain and for me he won the race as much as anybody else lost it, or any team lost it.
“I really don’t know who will be best around Imola and that is the wonderful thing about live sport.”