A stark contrast to last year’s victory with George Russell – the higher ups at the team may be starting to get worried about the near second per lap that they have to recover before the opening round of the 2024 season at Bahrain in just four months' time.
Speaking to the F1 Nation podcast about the weekend, James Allison – who has just returned to his original post of technical director, shared a chilling verdict on their performance.
“I just wrote an email back to the factory saying I’m knocked for six by it,” he said. “Because we came here – it would’ve been too much to imagine that there was a repeat of last year’s win because the stars would have to align somewhat for that. I felt we’d be troubling the podium.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that we would have the torrid weekend that we just had. In some ways, there’s a comfort in that because we must have just got something wrong and we’ll go off and uncover what that was.
“With a bit of luck, under the lovely thing that racing gives you, [in a] couple of weeks' time we’ll come back and hopefully put it to bed.”
There will be a lengthy discussion about where to head with setup direction over the next two weeks, before Formula 1 visits Las Vegas for the first time in the 21st century.
Vegas looks set to be a fast paced, high-speed circuit that may only exaggerate Mercedes’ issues and heighten their fears that retention of second place in the constructors’ championship may be more difficult than first perceived.
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