It was a productive opening day of pre-season testing for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were able to complete a good number of laps to learn more about the characteristics of the W13.
Russell completed seventy-seven laps of the Spanish circuit in the morning session as he took part in his first official test with Mercedes since being confirmed to race for them in 2022, while team-mate Hamilton took over in the afternoon and was able to complete fifty more laps in a reliable and trouble-free day for the team.
Andrew Shovlin, the Trackside Engineering Director at Mercedes, admitted the day was ‘surprisingly straightforward’ as the W13 proved to be reliable, although the same could be said for many of the teams on the opening day of testing.
“We got through a lot of work today and both drivers have been able to give us their initial impressions of the W13,” said Shovlin. “Overall the day has been surprisingly straightforward although looking up and down the pitlane, you can see how high the reliability standards are and most teams seemed to be running their programmes without issue.”
Shovlin says the limited testing available to teams – they have just six days in total before the season begins in earnest next month in Bahrain – so it is important to maximise the time they have on track and learn as much as they can as early as they can, particularly with the new aero regulations coming into effect this season.
“There really is a lot to try and cram into the six days of winter testing when you consider how different the car and the regulations are,” said Shovlin. “Nevertheless, we have made good progress on understanding the aerodynamics and the tyres, while at the same time getting nearly 600km under our belts.
“From a pace point of view it’s too early to say where anyone stands, we’ve also got a few wrinkles to iron out in terms of balance and performance before really trying to put times on the board.
“However, our overall feeling from today is a good one and we’re looking forward to making more progress tomorrow.”