Valtteri Bottas says it is easy to say Mercedes should have carried out a shakedown of its new car after it lost almost half of the opening day of testing in Bahrain to a reliability issue.
Mercedes was the only team not to do any running with its new car before heading to the one and only pre-season test, with Ferrari and Haas carrying out a filming day at the same venue on Thursday. That approach backfired for the defending constructors’ champion when Bottas was confined to the garage for the majority of morning due to a gearbox issue.
“I and the entire team were looking forward to getting on track,” Bottas said. “On the first lap, the installation lap, we realized there was an issue with the gearbox, so we obviously had to localize the issue and change the gearbox, which takes quite a bit of time.
“Only at the very end (of the session) we got a few more laps and then it was red flagged, so that was it. Six laps in total, all with aero rakes on the car, so not much running today. Not an ideal start.
“It’s very easy to say it afterwards. Of course, now, yes, we would have done (a shakedown) before, but in recent years everything has been pretty much bulletproof and certain things have already been run in the dyno, etc. Yes, we can say that now and I’m sure it will be reviewed for next year.”
Despite the frustration at being the team that has the least running after the opening day, and with a third of his testing time lost to reliability issues, Bottas is confident Mercedes can recover over the weekend.
“I think the good thing this year is that if you miss some running, you can actually catch up, because of the mileage limitation and with all the efficiency, cost cap, etc. We’re not running super-busy schedules on the other days, so hopefully we can catch up and recover — if not everything, a good chunk of it — and I’m looking forward to two good days in the next couple of days.”