Wolff: You always find 'the hair in the soup' in testing


Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says pre-season testing is always an opportunity for a team to find "the hair in the soup" or unexpected issues such as those encountered by the Brackley squad in Bahrain.

Mercedes wrapped up its three-day test at Sakhir with the lowest mileage of all teams, a shortfall owed to various reliability issues - including a gearbox problem - that impacted its running on the opening day and on Saturday morning.

But the "snappy and unforgiving" handling of the team's new W12 contender, as described by Valtteri Bottas, was also a cause for concern for Mercedes, with an uncommon off-track excursion on Saturday by Lewis Hamilton and another spin by the Briton on Sunday backing up his teammate's comments.

"I always worry, sometimes for the right reasons, sometimes for the wrong reasons, but pre-season testing is always exciting because you always find the hair in the soup, things that are not good and we had quite some struggle in the first few days," Wolff told F1TV.

Mercedes' testing woes led to suggestions that complacency had perhaps crept in at Brackley, a notion supported by the team's decision to bypass the traditional shakedown of its car before heading into testing.

But Wolff denied that Mercedes traveled to Bahrain with a quiet feeling of security.

"It’s not a matter of complacency," insisted the Austrian. "There’s a reason why there are not many teams winning World Championships or doing it with consecutive championships.

"It’s an organisation that needs to stay energised and motivated at all times, and that’s not trivial.

"The shakedown, if it’s done in the right conditions, allows you to understand a little bit more, but our failures in the first days were not down to doing or not doing a shakedown."

Mercedes will regroup ahead of next week's season-opening round at Sakhir and review all the available data to ensure that it rolls out fully prepared to battle with its rivals, and especially pacesetter Red Bull Racing.

"On the job list is that we will crunch the data," Wolff said. "Try to understand where we performed well, and where not, where we had good correlation to our simulations and the tunnel and where not, and just generally, it’s like sleeping overnight on an idea.

"Next day you wake up more intelligent!"

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