The Brackley-based outfit’s W05 was the most reliable car of pre-season testing and completed 974 laps overall, the most of any team. This meant Mercedes could switch focus to performance runs and race simulation work before its rivals.
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg set the second and third fastest times of the two Bahrain tests. Wolff says expectations are high both externally and internally despite the complete package not being quite where the team wants it to be.
“The new regulations have been a massive challenge for everybody involved, and the team has been pushing flat out to get the car to where it is now as we approach the first race in Melbourne,” he said. “While it is true that the quickest car with the quickest drivers will win, reliability will be a key factor. We want to bring both cars to the flag in the best possible position.
“We now face the ultimate reality check in the first race of this new era for Formula One. The feeling within the team is not one of nerves, however. It is more a sense of relief to finally be unleashing our cars in race conditions. Everybody now just wants to get out there and see where we stand.
“Expectations are high, both internally and externally. Although we’re not quite where we want to be right now in terms of a complete package, I’m optimistic in that we’ve done everything possible to prepare for the challenges ahead. I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised by the new cars: the noise, the speeds and ultimately the lap times. This is cutting-edge technology – and that’s exactly what Formula One stands for.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic