Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes’ head of engineering, concedes there is a “lot of everything” wrong with the team’s new W13.
But on the up side, he says there are a few solutions well within reach.
Mercedes lined up on the Bahrain grid for the season-opening race with Lewis Hamilton in fifth place and his team-mate George Russell P9, both drivers fearing a difficult Sunday.
They did manage to bag a double points-haul include a fortuitous podium for Hamilton, the team-mates elevated up the order in the final three laps as one after the other the Red Bull drivers retired.
Hamilton was third with Russell P4, Shovlin saying the result was better than the car.
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“From a championship point of view third and fourth is good because from a car based point of view fifth or sixth is what we deserved,” he told the F1 Nation podcast.
“Really there are two ways of looking at it.
“We’ve got a lot to do with car performance, we need to get on that really quickly, but that may not happen overnight and while we are not quick enough in terms of the championship situation we need to not be haemorrhaging points.
“So for the championship this was a bit of a let-off, and it was good that at least Red Bull didn’t score big points as they may be the toughest competition.
“It is still early and it is difficult to read but from our side it was a reasonable haul of points.”
Asked what exactly is wrong with the all-new W13, Shovlin says pretty much everything.
“We just did a de-brief with the drivers and there is a lot of everything [wrong],” he explained.
“There’s bouncing, the balance is poor, there is a lack of low-speed grip, we’re struggling on traction, the drivability could be better, the tyre warm-up is not good enough, the car is a bit on the heavy side.
“There is a lot for us to work on but may the same measure there’s a lot to improve and that gives us some encouragement.
“A year ago when we were here in Bahrain that list of things to improve wasn’t as big as it is now.
“I think we’ll get some easy gains, there’s some low-hanging fruit and what we’re hoping is that we can get those in the next race or two.
“We are working race by race, the factory are primed to bring everything they can in the next few days. We are learning with every day, there is a lot of work going on trying to under the science of the new cars.
“If we’ve got something useful to bring to Jeddah, we’ll make sure we get it on the car.”
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