Mercedes head into another weekend of pain in Melbourne, where the team will have to work hard to adapt their off-pace W14 to the unique characteristics of Albert Park circuit.
Mercedes finished fourth and fifth in Saudi Arabia with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton respectively on a day when they beat both Ferraris, but still have a huge gap to bridge to the front-running Red Bull, that are only chased by Aston Martin.
The eight-time Formula 1 Constructors’ Champions now head into the third race of the season, trying to salvage some points until the big upgrade for their W14 comes at Imola in May, which they hope will turn their fortunes around, and which will be a major departure from their slim sidepods concept, or so they say.
Previewing this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said: “The progress we saw in Saudi Arabia was encouraging. We maximised the package we had and scored some solid points.
“More importantly, we continued to learn and understand more about the W14 and our development direction. Everyone back at base has been hard at work to turn these learnings into performance.
Not getting carried away despite encouraging signs
“The signs we are seeing back at the factory are promising,” the Austrian revealed. “We have got to take it step by step, though, and won’t get carried away until we see performance translated into lap time on track. The competitive order behind Red Bull is tight, with small margins having a big effect on points scored. There remains a significant gap to the front and that is ultimately what we are interested in closing.”
Mercedes now head to Melbourne, a venue where they have won four times in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2019, but a win is off the cards this time around, but the team is nevertheless pushing to secure some points.
“We are looking forward to Australia,” Wolff said. “It’s a country serious about its motorsport with a great racing tradition, and the fans are super passionate.
“Albert Park is a circuit with unique characteristics, which we will have to work hard to adapt to with the W14. As always, we will look to maximise the car we have, and score as many points as our potential currently allows.
“We are not where we want to be – but that won’t stop us from racing hard and giving it everything we’ve got,” the Mercedes boss concluded.