Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport‘s Chief Race Engineer, Andrew Shovlin, has said that the team “had a very productive few days” during the first week of winter testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, ahead of the start of the 2019 Formula 1 season.
Shovlin said that both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas ran similar test programmes, but that the start of the day was made difficult for Hamilton due to the cold weather.
“Lewis had a tricky start to the day as the track was so cold it was difficult to get the used tyres to work. To avoid doing any damage, we waited around for a while for the surface to warm before getting into the programme.”
He added that it was the first time they had run the softer tyres on the W10, so they used the test as an opportunity to evaluate the difference in grip and balance between the compounds.
“It’s the first time we’ve tried the softer tyres on the W10 and today was just a first look to understand the grip and balance differences between them.
“Valtteri’s programme in the afternoon was quite similar to Lewis, running through the same compounds. We’ve had a very productive few days and the car has run very reliably which has helped us get through the programme.”
Shovlin said that the week of testing has shown that they should expect stiff competition from both Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing in 2019.
“It’s clear from this week that we’re going to have strong competition this year with Ferrari and Red Bull but hopefully we’ll have another good test next week which will help us with our final preparations for Melbourne.”