Mercedes plays down favourites status
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has played down suggestions his team is the favourite this year after its impressive performance at the first test in Jerez.
Mercedes completed the most mileage of any team in the opening week of testing and even moved on to a race simulation on the morning of the final day. Ferrari and McLaren also had successful weeks in terms of mileage, but Red Bull struggled to turn consecutive laps as all three Renault-powered teams present at the test had reliability issues.
But despite the show of strength in Jerez, Wolff is taking nothing for granted.
"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," he told the official Mercedes website. "I think we have to have a certain degree of caution, especially at this early stage. 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 I wouldn't say."
Mercedes biggest issue was a front wing failure on the first day, but the problem was corrected overnight and the car pieced back together. By the final day, Wolff said the team completed more mileage than it had expected.
"It looked like it could be difficult after the first day, but from that point onwards the car ran very reliably," he added. "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. 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 [testing] in Bahrain."