Helmut Marko does not believe Mercedes’ pre-season complaints are true and still expects their car to go “boom” come the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The reigning eight-time World Champions have been very vocal of their concerns about their car following the second round of testing in Bahrain.
Lewis Hamilton said he does not think the team will be “competing for wins”, while his new team-mate George Russell said the Mercedes performance “isn’t there.”
Sandbagging is a technique that has been deployed by Mercedes in the past and it seems this time around, the rest of the grid is not buying it.
Carlos Sainz said it was “typical Mercedes” to lavish praise on others.
“I think it’s typical Mercedes, typical George,” he said. “Just hype up the others and then come to the first race and blow the competition away, which is typical.
“If it would be the first year they’ve done it then I would maybe believe them, but they have done it for five, six years now and they keep [performing] in the first race.
"It was a very bumpy ride!" 🥴
George Russell says Mercedes are trying to address the issue of porpoising ahead of the season opener in Bahrain! 👇 pic.twitter.com/vtEMmCjDXt
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) March 14, 2022
“So as you can imagine, I don’t think much [of the comments] and yes, already in GPS [data] we can also see what they are doing and yes, I’m not going to say much… yes, I’m not going to say much.”
Helmut Marko agreed and said he still expected their car to go “boom” come the first race.
“We know Ferrari have built a compact car that is also very reliable,” he told Sport1.
“But we also know Mercedes – they always whine during the test drives and then it suddenly goes boom.
“It was the same last year. They also had problems during the test and still won the first race.”
Marko did, however, admit the Mercedes had reliability issues which they need to get under control.
“The time Max drove with the C3 tyres was more important [than his fastest lap on the C5 tyres]. This is the tyre that will be used in qualifying on the race weekend.
“Our big update worked as expected in Bahrain. Both drivers get along very well with the car.
“We also don’t have a major issue with hopping on the straights, which can particularly affect reliability.
“Mercedes still have to get this under control.”
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