Although the jury is still out on whether Mercedes' troubles during winter testing were real or overblown, Toto Wolff insists the team still haven't come to grips with the W12.
It's a scenario the team from Brackley aren't used to, as in years past they've quickly worked out on any kinks or problems ahead of the start of a new season. However just days away from the Bahrain Grand Prix, Wolff admits Mercedes still have more to find out about their new car, comparing it to the W08 in 2017 that brought quite a few headaches with it.
"We've had some great performances over the years and that is why everyone is saying that we are sandbagging," Wolff told ORF. "I think that we were the team that was running with the most fuel, but regardless the car was a bit toxic to drive and fairly unstable, especially with the crosswind.
"It seems like we have a small diva, like the car from two years ago, that we haven't really understood yet."
Hampering Mercedes' efforts is the fact that F1 reduced the number of testing days to three, down from the six in 2020.
"The fact that we only had a few days of testing certainly didn't help," Wolff added. "We haven't yet understood the car the way we want to.
"We have some small issues that we have to resolve, so we certainly aren't as prepared as previous years."