Mercedes is in absolutely no doubt that the rule changes have worked against them in the early part of the season. The nature of the battle against Red Bull in the first race of the season was a clear indication of that fact.
It is believed that the changes to the floor that were introduced to cut downforce have hurt low rake cars such as Mercedes and Aston Martin. Red Bull, meanwhile, does not suffer as a result of this.
Aston Martin had recently revealed that the changes in regulations had seen them lose up to 0.1 second per lap compared to high rake rivals.
Sky Sports pundit Martin Brundle does not believe the high rake explanation is good enough and believes there is more in play which the teams aren’t mentioning.
He still believes Hamilton will come out on top come the end of the season, as will Mercedes in the constructors’ standings.
“I think the rake thing is a little bit of a distraction and I think the Mercedes is not really working that well at the moment,” Brundle said.
“Red Bull and Honda are working particularly well, as are a few other cars.
“The regulations mean you can’t just keep throwing new upgrades at it every week like they have perhaps done in the past, but Mercedes will get it together.
“[Lewis] Hamilton and Mercedes are still the combo to beat for the world championship.”
Brudle believes Imola will be spectacle to a similar race, with both teams set to display similar performances.
“It depends what they do to their car in between times,” Brundle said.
“It is obviously more limited as to what you can change anyway now.
“I wouldn’t underestimate Mercedes. I mean everybody is talking about rake and how it has damaged Mercedes and therefore Aston Martin.
“But, unless I’m mistaken, a Mercedes won the race in Bahrain with Red Bull having dominated the last race [in Abu Dhabi] last year.
“I think it will be really close, they will sort the Mercedes out.
“Hamilton was absolutely magnificent in Bahrain and for me he won the race as much as anybody else lost it, or any team lost it.
“I really don’t know who will be best around Imola and that is the wonderful thing about live sport.”