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