Mercedes 'about where we expected to be'

Mercedes 'about where we expected to be'

11 February 2014 – Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff has said he is ‘cautiously satisfied’ and that they are ‘about where they expected to be’ following the opening 2014 F1 pre-season test at Jerez last month.

Mercedes completed the most number of laps during the four-day session at the Spanish circuit, with the factory team itself doing 309 tours.

Lewis Hamilton meanwhile wound up third quickest overall on the combined times, with Nico Rosberg eighth in the sister car.

“It looked like it could be very difficult after the first day, but from that point onwards, the car ran very reliably. In terms of mileage I would say we are ahead of schedule, while in terms of the bits and pieces we have struggled with and the challenges ahead of the first race, I think we are about where we expected to be,” Wolff told the team’s official website.

“We can’t really judge performance yet, of course, but that is normal after the first test and hopefully this will become clearer after the first week in Bahrain.

“Cooling will be a key consideration [there]. This will be one of the biggest challenges of the season and from that perspective the test in Bahrain will be very interesting for everyone.”

So is he pleased with the progress made so far? “I would say we are cautiously satisfied,” he added. “The Power Unit and all the associated systems are very new, so making sure they function properly and are reliable has been the focus.

"We are some way from what we expect to be our full potential, and there are a few things not quite functioning as we would like, however, we are proud of the integrated concept produced by the teams at Brackley and Brixworth.”

Many are touting Mercedes as one of, if not the favourite for honours in 2014 in the wake of the Jerez test, but Wolff was quick to down play such expectations.

“If you look back through past seasons, the favourites after the first few days of testing are not always in the same position at the first race. I think we have to have a certain degree of caution, especially at this early stage,” he continued.

“A few different teams have looked strong so far in different ways, but we won’t know the full story for a while yet; not even after the first couple of races.”

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