The all-conquering Mercedes F1 outfit looked vulnerable for the first time in years during the recently concluded pre-season test in Bahrain. Team principal Toto Wolff offers his summary of the three days, using a very peculiar analogy to describe the team's issues.
With a gearbox issue limiting Valtteri Bottas' running during day one and Lewis Hamilton making uncharacteristic errors on day two and three, the once untouchable Mercedes squad looked far from their best during the Bahrain test. Wolff offers his personal takeaways from the three days of testing.
"I always worry, sometimes for the right reasons, sometimes for the wrong reasons, but pre-season testing is always exciting because you always find the hair in the soup, things that are not good and we had quite some struggle in the first few days," Wolff told the official F1 website.
Wolff went out to say that the team does not regret not conducting a shakedown and that the members of the seven-time world champions had not become complacent.
"The shakedown, if it’s done in the right conditions, allows you to understand a little bit more, but our failures in the first days were not down to doing or not doing a shakedown," Wolff explained.
"It’s not a matter of complacency, there’s a reason why there are not many teams winning world championships or doing it with consecutive championships.
"It’s an organisation that needs to stay energised and motivated at all times, and that’s not trivial."
Wolff went on to explain that the team will look for ways to improve over the course of the next few weeks, hinting that it will be a gruelling process.
"On the job list is that we will crunch the data," Wolff said.
"Try to understand where we performed well, and where not, where we had good correlation to our simulations and the tunnel and where not, and just generally, it’s like sleeping overnight on an idea. Next day you wake up more intelligent."
Mercedes, for the first time in the hybrid era, are about to embark on a season where they haven't ended a pre-season test as favourites. The small technical changes, which targeted the floors of the car has hampered the German outfit with former champions, Red Bull, looking the most likely to lead the pack come the first round of the season.