Helmut Marko has voiced skepticism about the true performance of Mercedes’ new W15 car

Helmut Marko has voiced skepticism about the true performance of Mercedes’ new W15 car. Marko suggested that Mercedes are deliberately concealing their pace while expressing confidence that Red Bull remains unthreatened.

The first day of testing saw the Silver Arrows, with George Russell behind the wheel, finishing with the 12th-fastest lap time. Russell clocked a 1:34.109 lap using Pirelli’s C3 compound tires, trailing 2.765 seconds behind Max Verstappen, who claimed the top spot in the new-for-2024 RB20 Red Bull.

Verstappen, the 2023 champion, recorded his fastest lap using Pirelli’s C3 tires and completed a substantial 143 laps at the Bahrain International Circuit, while Russell amassed 122 laps. Mercedes, seizing the opportunity of the only winter test, focused on accumulating mileage with their extensively modified W15.

The engineers at the Brackley-based team have introduced significant changes to Mercedes’ car ahead of the 2024 Formula 1 season. A notable alteration from the W14 is the innovative front wing of the Silver Arrows, featuring a diminutive upper flap adhering to the mandated connection between the wing and the nose cone.

Helmut Marko, offering insights into Mercedes’ testing strategy, remarked, “I don’t know what they did. Certainly, they are faster than what they showed. They didn’t put new tires on when the temperature dropped, and they were obviously running a completely different program. But we can be confident.” Despite anticipating Mercedes closing the gap to Red Bull, Marko maintains doubt about their championship threat in the upcoming season.