Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has revealed that his team paid close attention to the performance of the Mercedes W13 in Bahrain, after the reigning Constructors' World Champions showed up to the test with a revolutionary new design.
Following a solid first test in Barcelona, Mercedes introduced extremely slimmed-down sidepods and a new mirror design – with the entire paddock sitting up at the sight of the tightly-packaged W13.
But, at the end of the three days, Red Bull's own updated RB18 ended up a second faster than the Mercedes on the same Soft C5 compound, and Marko said there hadn't been anything particularly noteworthy about their rival's performance.
"We looked more at the performance and it wasn't that impressive," Marko told Austrian publication OE24 at the conclusion of testing.
"What Mercedes brought looks revolutionary. But what matters is the [lap] time. And the main thing is that we're the fastest again."
But Marko admitted to some wariness ahead of the season opener in Bahrain, explaining that Mercedes had also appeared to be struggling at the conclusion of pre-season testing in 2021 – only to show up and win the first race.
"I remember last year, when Mercedes was also behind in the tests," he commented.
"But we are primarily concerned with our car, and we are doing well there."
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Marko confident Red Bull are on top of porpoising issues
While Mercedes have struggled to get on top of their 'porpoising' issues, preventing them from unlocking more lap time, Marko said there are no such issues at Red Bull.
The RB18 looked considerably smoother than the W13 when on a fast lap of the Bahrain circuit, and Marko is feeling confident in this area.
He added: "We also have that under control. We are completely satisfied with the new car and with all the updates.
"Now, I'm just waiting for qualifying on Saturday, when the engine will be revved up and all the cards will be on the table."
F1 Podcast: All you need to know after the second pre-season test
At the end of the first pre-season test of 2022 in Barcelona,
Dieter Rencken and Thomas Maher discuss the on- and off-track
developments in Bahrain.