Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff says the German manufacturer is 'cautiously satisfied' with the progress made so far with its 2014 F1 challenger as teams continue to work ahead of the second test of the off-season in Bahrain later this month.
Aside from an off for Lewis Hamilton on the opening day, Mercedes was able to put plenty of mileage on the new W05 following a four-day session that saw main rivals Red Bull run into one problem after another with its own new machine.
The early running for the new cars led to Wolff being forced to downplay suggestions
that Mercedes were the favourites for the 2014 title
Having had time to now reflect on the Spanish test, Wolff said he wasn't getting carried away with where Mercedes currently stands in relation to its rivals, and admitted there was still plenty to come in the two tests remaining before the season opener in Australia.
“It looked like it could be very difficult after the first day [at Jerez], but from that point onwards, the car ran very reliably,” he said. “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, but that is normal after the first test and hopefully this will become clearer after the first week in Bahrain. I would say we are cautiously satisfied. The Power Unit and 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.”
Wolff added that he expected the test in Bahrain to add a fresh challenge for teams in terms of cooling with the new powerplants, and predicted that it may take a few races before teams were really able to see how well they have adapted to the new rules.
“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 said. “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.”