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Mercedes open up about their issues after challenging test

Andrew Shovlin feels that Mercedes are making moves in the right direction, as they are slowly but surely getting on top of their porpoising issues.

Mercedes' Andrew Shovlin has explained that his team are hoping to use the week between the end of testing and the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend in order to get a better handle on some of their car's issues. The Mercedes W13 was one of the worst cars for 'porpoising' during the three-day test in Bahrain, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell bouncing their way down the straights as the car reached higher speeds. The bouncing compromised Mercedes' ultimate pace, with their fastest time coming courtesy of Russell on the final day as the British driver used the Soft C5 tyre to set a 1:32.759 – a second off the pace set by Red Bull's Max Verstappen on the same compound. "We've had a busy day here but that's always the case on the last day of testing," Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director with Mercedes, explained after the conclusion of Saturday's running. "The programme was similar to yesterday [Friday] but with Lewis doing the race work in the morning and George doing lower fuel and softer tyres in the afternoon."

Mercedes already getting to grips with the porpoising W13

Surprisingly, despite the W13 being one of the most obvious to struggle with bouncing, Shovlin revealed that Mercedes have already managed to significantly reduce the porpoising from where they had been in Barcelona. "Both sessions have been quite instructive; we've made a bit of progress with the bouncing, which in turn has made the car less of a handful on the limit, and it also feels like we've made a step in the right direction with setup today," he said. "There's still a lot of pace to come if we can make further gains on the bouncing and get the car more settled. We've got a lot of good data, so hopefully we can gain a bit more understanding of the issues in the next few days."

Another push for Mercedes ahead of the Bahrain GP

While the two drivers were quite 'doom and gloom' about their prospects of fighting for wins early in the 2022 season, Shovlin was more optimistic about the general performance of the car being on the rise – he also highlighted the positives of how reliably the W13 ran throughout both tests. "From a reliability point of view, the chassis and power unit have run without issue, which is encouraging to see and testament to a lot of good work in Brackley and Brixworth," he commented. "Judging the car from a performance point of view is less easy; we struggled to get the first laps out of the harder tyres, but on softer rubber it's coming more easily and we look to be in better shape. "It feels like we need to find a bit of pace if we want to be fighting for the win at the first race, but we're learning and developing at a good rate, so we'll just focus on those aspects and see where we stand in seven days' time."

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