For whatever reason, the Mercedes W12 F1 car doesn't have the same aura of dominance that some of its predecessors had. The German squad's team principal, Toto Wolff, believes the change in the technical regulations has affected his team more than his Austrian rivals.
On the other side, Red Bull's RB16B has looked the car to beat ever since F1 returned to action at the pre-season test in Bahrain. The Austrian team have even managed to top the first practice session of the new season with star driver Max Verstappen going close to three-tenths quicker than Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas. Wolff feels this change in fortune has been facilitated by the recent rule change.
"I think we've probably suffered more with the change of regulations than the cars with the higher rake," Wolff told RacingNews365 among others.
"Red Bull have followed that concept since many years but just maybe more difficult for us to recover some of the lost downforce.
"But so far from what I've seen, and what I hope is that we can really have a really tough fight is what the fans want to see and what what we would like to have.
"Red Bull is a formidable team with people pushing really hard, they've won four championships before the hybrid power units came in, and no doubt they're our strongest competitor."
Wolff also offered a more philosophic reply to how he hopes his team might bridge the gap to the current favourites.
"I feel we haven't been good enough," Wolff continued.
"Formula One is like in many other sports, we are oscillating between depression and exuberance. And when everything is perfect, you think here we go, this is ours. And then when you have a few days that are not very good. You kind of look at the data and say, well, how should we ever catch that up?
"I think if we are behind, then we just need to catch up and do a good job, if we are just about at the same pace, which I would consider today, maybe the best possible scenario for us, then we are up for the fight with another great team."