Mercedes have promised they are ‘not bluffing’ despite scepticism about their Formula One testing issues among rivals. Christian Horner and Carlos Sainz believe they can see through claims made by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell ahead of the start of the 2022 season.
Hamilton claimed Mercedes are struggling to perform under new regulations and will not compete for wins at the beginning of the campaign.
Hamilton and Russell both had issues with their cars bouncing during testing in Bahrain.
“It is too early to have those kind of thoughts about the world championship, but at the moment I don’t think we will be competing for wins,” Hamilton said.
He added: “We have some hurdles to overcome and obviously next week we’ll get a much better showing of our pace, but I think people will be surprised, because people keep talking about whether we’re talking ourselves down or not, but it’s a bit different this year.”
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Hamilton’s new team-mate Russell also insisted Ferrari appear to be the strongest team.
There has been some scepticism from rivals, including Horner and Sainz, but a Mercedes engineer has claimed the issues are genuine.
“We’re not bluffing,” the unnamed engineer told Auto Motor Peace.
“The problems with bouncing are real. And they’re keeping us from understanding and developing the car at the moment.”
“It looks like McLaren have a strong car. Alpine have a strong car.”
“It is typical Mercedes, typical George – hype up the others and then come to the first race and blow the competition away,” Ferrari driver Sainz added.
“If it was the first season they did it I would maybe believe them, but they have done it for five, six years now and they keep surprising us in the first race. So as you can imagine I don’t believe much.
“Already in GPS we can also see what they are doing and, yeah… I am not going to say much.”