Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has hinted the championship leading team is getting close to turning its focus towards its 2017 project as the mid-way point in the 2016 season looms with this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix.
Though there is almost nothing to separate Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in the overall standings ahead of the annual jaunt to Budapest – round 11 of 21 -, Mercedes' overriding dominance has seen it pull 131 points clear of Ferrari in the constructors' reckoning with 11 races to go.
As such, though the drivers' title battle has never been closer, Wolff admits Mercedes is now evaluating the moment to ease off on developing the 10-time winning W07 in favour of switching attention towards the 'W08' and the revised technical regulations.
“We are now entering a time where things are complicated even more by some big decisions to be made. Every week we must analyse how much resource we move across to the 2017 project - but that's a tricky balance.
“Some teams will have stopped 2016 development very early - as early as February maybe, once the current cars hit the circuit. That does give them an advantage, as the learning curve is very steep at the beginning.
“If you are a few weeks behind you can find yourselves much further back in the end. We may be halfway through the battle for this year - but the hard work is only just beginning.”