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Mercedes to take a ‘chainsaw’ to the W13 to reduce drag

Conceding that the Mercedes W13 suffered with too much drag in Bahrain, Toto Wolff says they’ll “simply take a chainsaw” to it to solve the problem before Jeddah.

Mercedes grabbed a fortuitous podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton crossing the line in third place after both Red Bull drivers retired late in the grand prix with fuel pump issues.

George Russell was P4 as he started his first full season in Mercedes colours.

But while it was a good result for Mercedes, the Brackley squad was never once in the mix for the race win.

Not only was the W13 suffering with extreme porpoising, but Wolff says it also had too much drag.

After the team qualified P5 and sixth in Saturday night’s qualifying, he explained: “I think we are running more drag, or we have the data that we are running more drag than anybody else.

“We can see that we are losing on the main straight, but not so much in all the other ones, so we need to make an assessment after the first couple of races to see [if we are] lacking power or deployment, before we point fingers into some of the areas.”

He added: “Realistically, it’s about half a second that we are missing on a single lap.”

That continued in Sunday’s grand prix where again drag cost Mercedes, especially down the straights.

“I think we were probably over-winged,” Wolff told Sky F1. “We had too much drag and that is just because we are lacking parts at the moment and hopefully we can remedy that.

“It is half or a little bit more maybe of the top speed advantage but we need to really leave no stone unturned on the power unit side.”

He went onto explain how, in simple terms, Mercedes can fix that issue.

“It’s easier to shed drag off the car because you simply take a chainsaw and cut the rear wing to bits and so that is what we will be doing for Jeddah,” said Wolff.

Despite Mercedes’ pre-season fears, the Brackley squad left Bahrain second in the Constructors’ Championship behind only Ferrari.

The Scuderia claimed the 1-2 but it is fair to say Max Verstappen at least would have beaten the Mercedes drivers had he not suffered a DNF.

 

Wolff conceded: “I think at the moment we are five and six, third on the road. We’re trying to recover ground, but it’s not going to come from one day to the other.”

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