Mercedes thinks they have ‘serious competition’?

9

As Formula1 heads into the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend, Mercedes says it had a wake up call in Malaysia with the Ferrari victory. Fair enough, I don’t think any team should take their domination lightly nor should they always assume it will be there.

However, Paddy Lowe of Mercedes said:

“We’ve spent time analysing the weekend in Sepang to identify areas for improvement,” Lowe said. “The most significant weakness was our tyre management during long runs.”

The high temperatures were, by everyone’s account, to blame for the Ferrari victory as they have apparently much better tire sympathy than the Mercedes cars do. Lowe admits that the temps and tire degradation is an issue:

“So there is work to be done on that front,” said Lowe.

“It is now clearer than ever that there is serious competition for this world championship, so we will continue to work flat out for performance gains. We have a range of new aerodynamic developments for Shanghai and are targeting an improved performance from Malaysia,”

Before we get too carried away, I’ll wait until the Chinese Grand Prix to determine if we have “serious competition” for the championship or not. The Australian Grand Prix showed a punishingly good pace for Mercedes in more temperate climates and the series will face those types of environments more than they will the punishing heat of Malaysia.

To those ends, I may have egg on my face but I’ll wait until the series gets through China and back to Spain to asses whether Mercedes has any real concern over the title this year. Don’t get me wrong, I hope they do and as a Ferrari fan, I hope it is the red car that creates the challenges. I’m just not quite convinced after one race but good on Merc for trying to make it seem as if they are under serious pressure and this could be a titanic battle this season. I love their spirit.

Hat Tip: Reuters

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eram

I read an interesting but looked over article about mercs engines were all turned down a bit last race due to a faulty valve on the lotus .The new part that was on all the merc engines wasn’t fully tested so instead of risk a dnf the merc engines were slightly down on power.

Jeff

Fascinating; more details or link?

eram

Yeah i think i found the link again. I was on my tablet at the time using google now cards so it wasn’t from any of my regular sites. “Mercedes engine caution in Sepang Ferrari fans should enjoy their day in the sun, because Vettel’s popular win at the second round of the F1 2015 championships may be his and Ferrari’s only one for quite some time. TJ13 has learned that following the race in Australia and the failure of Romain Grosjean’s engine, Mercedes in Brixworth decided to retro fit all their engines with a new – but not fully… Read more »

Andreas

I’m inclined to agree with Todd that it would be wise to wait a couple more races before declaring Ferrari championship contenders. But that does not detract from the effort put on by the red team in Malaysia, and the joy of seeing Sebastian happy as a kid. Even though Mercedes may still be the yardstick, we may be in for a very exciting season!

Jeff

I agree with you as well Todd. Certain events flattered Ferrari’s capabilities.

Nevertheless, it’s shown good race pace and tire management from the 2nd test. Whilst I believe Merc has a substantial pace advantage still, Ferrari’s gains make it a legitimate threat; it’s now down to inherent chassis development potential and which team exploits it. Merc has the leg up, but if it pursues a dead end development tract a la Mclaren 2014…

Well done Ferrari; it’s provided what must be some measure of relief and contradiction to those bemoaning dominance and baked in advantages.

Daniel Johnson

Also it could be that the Mercs might be playing possum a bit to keep the FIA from making changes to the regs that would level things. Instead of driving off every race if they let the other teams up there and mix it up with them Bernie is happy, then when they need the points they could crank things up and be gone.

Unlikely I know but it just sticks in my head after how F1 has treated previous dominant teams.

Scottynz

Yep I agree…. as they say……Steady…..steady…….steady…. Ooh crap they’re upon us. But seriously let’s see what happens this weekend

nasportscar

Reminded me a little bit of Barcelona 2013 (or 2012?) where Ferrari and Alonso dominated the race with more tire stops than anyone else and Alonso won by 10+ seconds. But then Red Bull complained about the tires…

Paul KieferJr

Playing the “Devil’s Advocate” here: While it is true that this is just one race and it was under hot and humid conditions, if this gets replicated, do you run the risk of becoming a “Doubting Thomas”? “Until I put my hands in his nail prints and am able to thrust my hand in his side, I shall not believe it.”