Has Merc solved their tire issues?

One of the keys to Mercedes in 2012 was that they certainly had pace but they sacrificed that pace for tire wear. The team faced a real challenge throughout the season on how best to reduce the degradation and lost grip levels without losing the pace of the car. Ultimately it created a deficit they couldn’t recover from.

This year, testing looked positive and some suggest that Mercedes, combined with Lewis Hamilton, could be the surprise of the season. Much of that will have to do with the teams ability to manage the tire issues they experienced last year. Can the car be quick without putting too much heat in the tire and losing grip? It is a compromise that not just Mercedes are facing. Lotus F1 had relatively slow qualifying in 2012 but good race pace. A balancing act to be sure.

For 2013, Mercedes told AUTOSPORT that they feel they’ve gained perspective on how to approach the tricky tire issues. Bob Bell said:

“[The tyres] are fickle, they’re not easy, it’s going to be difficult this year,” Bell said.

“They are different compounds and constructions and we’re going to see a lot more tyre issues.

“But I think all the teams would have learnt to deal with that. It will be less of a shock than it possibly was at the start of last season.”

Nico Rosberg set the best aggregate time in winter testing and if the team have gotten on top of the “fickle” Pirelli issue, they could turn their 2013 chassis into a race-winner or at the very least, a podium contender.  The issue is, has Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren done a better job of creating a car that will extract the best of pace versus tire performance?

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