Date: 23rd March 2011 at 10:14am
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The final days of winter testing in Barcelona raised expectations amongst the Mercedes team beyond comprehension.

Following reliability issues the Mercedes team opted to alter the configuration of their car, this had a big impact on the cars speed and Mercedes for all intents and purposes looked most likely to be set for another season of mid-pack running.

The team throughout the winter however remained confident, stating that late development upgrades would see the car improve, and yet it still came as a surprise to see them become so much quicker, literally over night, to fire Michael Schumacher to the top of the timing charts.

‘We knew that there was something in the pipeline but between knowing and delivering there is always a question mark,’

‘The calculations in the wind tunnel said we could come into this direction but then the proof of the pudding is the eating – and so far, so good. But there is no reason to get excited right now.?
Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug told Autosport Magazine.

Following the vast improved showing over the final days of testing in Barcelona, the discussions around the paddock have shifted focus and now people are heavily tipping a return to the top of the podium for former seven-time World champion Michael Schumacher at some stage this season.

‘We are not seeing ourselves as the favourites, but we hope we have developed further in comparison with the competitors and are heading in the right direction. We need to see, and we need to have realistic targets.’

‘From fourth [in the Constructors’ Championship in 2010] we want to go forward, If we start the season as third, or among the top three, then it is a good base for further improvement. There is more to come from our car and everyone in the team.


The teams pace was impressive in Barcelona, but when the times were set Red Bull and Ferrari were beginning to wind down their winter testing programs, so it will be interesting to see just how close Mercedes now are to Red Bull and Ferrari.

Have they leapfrogged past McLaren? Or are they still amongst the mid-pack teams of Renault, Williams and Toro Rosso?

Our first clear indications should come during Friday?s practice sessions, but Mercedes certainly appear to be the dark horses for Australia and look set to threaten Red Bull and Ferrari?s expected battle for the podium places.