Since the introduction of the V6 turbo hybrids in 2014, Mercedes has forged a reputation as a relentless steamroller that disgusts its opponents from the first turns of the wheel with exemplary reliability.
It was therefore a little surprise to only glimpse the new W12 this Friday morning at the opening of winter testing in Bahrain: the fault of a recalcitrant gearbox.
At the end of the first 4 hours of driving, Valtteri Bottas had only been able to complete 6 short laps of the Sakhir circuit, only one of which was timed, more than 4 seconds from the morning reference established by Daniel Ricciardo on his McLaren.
« We encountered a box problem that came out of nowhere, we have not yet managed to identify it or understand it, Toto Wolff sighed during the daily break.
If we manage to chain the laps after that, we can make up for lost time. But if we encounter other obstacles, our room for maneuver will be very limited since there are only 3 days of testing. ».
Bottas lost almost a third of his winter driving time, the Finn having passed the baton on to his team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the break. Not sure, however, that the seven-time world champion is having a very productive afternoon because of the sandstorm that has invited itself in the Gulf this Friday.