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Mercedes see 'a lot of potential' in W13 despite test struggles

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the key focus of his team at the start of the 2022 F1 season is figuring out how to unlock the potential of their new car.

Toto Wolff believes that pre-season testing allowed Mercedes to figure out their shortcomings, after introducing a revolutionary new design for their W13 at the beginning of last week's Bahrain session. Having shown up at the first test in Barcelona with a more conservative design, the car Mercedes brought along to Bahrain featured extremely slimline sidepods, as well as a unique mirror arrangement. But the design failed to light up the timing screens, with the W13's best effort a second away from the pace set by Red Bull's Max Verstappen on the same tyre compound. As a result, both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton have downplayed their chances of victory for the season opener in Sakhir this weekend.

Wolff relishing the challenge of improving the W13

But, despite the initial struggles with the W13, Wolff is confident about Mercedes making quick progress. "The start of a new Formula 1 season is always exciting, and this year more than most," Wolff said. "With new technical and sporting regulations, there is so much to learn and discover as this new season begins. "Barcelona was a productive first test of the W13, then we brought a big update to Bahrain for the pre-season test, which resulted from a huge effort by the whole team. "We completed good mileage, had solid reliability, and learned a lot about our new car, but it was not a straightforward three days for us. "We tried plenty of set-up options and made good progress in understanding our limitations, and there's still plenty of room for us to improve further. "There is a lot of potential to unlock in the W13, and we know how much we relish the challenge of understanding the car and extracting the maximum from it, and this will be our focus for the coming days, weeks and months."

Wolff excited to see where Mercedes fit into the pecking order

With pre-season testing out of the way, the first Grand Prix of the year means an end to all the game-playing and sandbagging as teams attempt to muddy the waters of their true performance. As a result, Wolff says he's excited to figure out where exactly Mercedes will fall in the pecking order once the race rolls around. "It's hard to say exactly where we'll fit in the competitive order this weekend in Bahrain, but that's what makes this new season and new era so exciting," he said. "It's a clean slate for everyone and all to play for. Like we always say, what we love about F1 is that the stopwatch never lies – and we will get our first understanding of the competitive truth on Saturday in qualifying. "I'm excited to see what the weekend has in store..."

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