Turbulence in Mercedes

Mercedes, through the mouth of Lewis Hamilton, its most powerful loudspeaker, has long reported being the victim of a persecution by the division of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) that regularly reviews technical regulations. According to the British, the regular body of the Formula 1 World Championship seeks to stop the advance of the roller that has allowed the star brand to chain seven consecutive doubles, the most fruitful inertia in the history of the event.

Since the introduction of hybrid technology in 2014, the German company has won 103 grand prizes out of the total 139 that have been held so far, 74.1%, that is, almost three out of four events. The seven-time champion, and many like him, understands that the lack of alternatives in the brawl for victories and titles does not suit anyone but Mercedes, and hence the attempt to somehow condition the performance of the team’s car. Brackley (Great Britain). According to Hamilton, the intentions of the FIA ​​have been clearly exposed with the aerodynamic restrictions introduced with a view to the championship that started in Bahrain three weeks ago.

In Sakhir Mercedes (Hamilton) won again, but the novelty is that they did so without having the fastest car, a privilege that Red Bull and Max Verstappen did not take advantage of for various reasons. In the first place, because of the penalty that fell to the Dutchman at the decisive moment and that forced him to return the position to Hamilton. And also, due to the problems that he dragged throughout the test in the differential of his RB16B, and that prevented him from escaping during the first third of the race.

According to the estimates of the technicians of the red buffalo, this slight mismatch caused him to lose about three tenths per lap. Bahrain closed last year with a victory for Verstappen, a circumstance that may lead to think that this approach of the red buffalo troop is a matter of the circuit. But at Mercedes there is the conviction that the new aerodynamic frame makes the W12 a beast something more vulnerable in absolute terms, and that this will be reflected in other scenarios, such as the Imola circuit, which this Sunday (3pm, Movistar F-1 and Dazn) will host the second stop on the calendar. Hamilton will start first after winning a pole that even he was taken by surprise. Behind him will be the two Red Bulls, while Carlos Sainz will start the eleventh and Fernando Alonso, the 15th.

“The new aerodynamic restrictions, especially the cut-out of the car’s floor area on the sides, that which is in front of the rear wheels, has hurt Mercedes more than the rest. It is a question of the concept of the car itself ”, a member of the champion team explains to El País. “At first glance,” adds this source from the Stuttgart manufacturer, “it can be seen that the rake [la caída hacia adelante] it is much lower than Red Bull, which is much steeper at the nose. With the removal of those ten centimeters (in the most affected area) of ground just in front of the rear wheels, the seal of the car with the ground has been altered. This causes turbulence to be generated that makes the rear end more nervous ”.

Both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have validated this thesis from the first laps they did last preseason, a winter in which both riders had more spins and track starts than usual for them. “One of the big problems with this car is the rear, which is quite unstable and unforgiving,” the Finn stayed on the day he debuted it.

Hamilton, for his part, insists that, at least for the moment, he does not have the best weapon to compete in, and that is something that allows him to enhance his role as leader of the provisional table of points: “We must be smarter in the different phases of the weekend, because at the moment we don’t have the fastest car. But no problem, I don’t mind having to make a difference ”.

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