Mercedes concedes “a lot of work to do” to validate eye-catching pontoons

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Mercedes ground engineering director Andrew Shovlin acknowledged the team had “a lot of work to do” to “validate” its striking pontoon concept.

All eyes turned to Lewis Hamilton’s W13 on Thursday morning in Bahrain as the F1 constructors’ champions unveiled its new look.

The first test in Barcelona had seen Mercedes show off some creative bargeboards while with its latest design it has drastically shrunk its sidepods as part of a clever cooling package.

Reflecting on a solid but unspectacular race day, Shovlin said: “We still have a lot of work to do regarding the validation of the update kit.

“We will continue the data collection program over the next few days, so it is a little early to tell if everything is working as planned.

“There is definitely more to find the right balance between slow and high speed corners, and there is also a bit too much tire overheating.

“So plenty to keep us busy for the next two days, but we’re on a steep learning curve with the new car and new tyres.

“We will analyze what we have from today and hopefully take a step forward for tomorrow.”

George Russell and Hamilton finished the day ninth and eleventh respectively, although with Mercedes focused on confirming that the upgrades were working as planned, it was never likely the team would attempt a qualifying simulation.

Despite that, Shovlin conceded: “Compared to Barcelona, ​​it was more difficult to balance the car well around the lap here.

“We seem to have made some progress during the day, but it’s still hard to judge accurately here as the dropping temperature tends to flatter whatever you do later in the day.”

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