Remember Mercedes as it was? Heading into 2013, the Brackley-based operation was Formula 1's great underachiever. Since taking over the title-winning Brawn squad at the end of 2009 amid a wave of high expectations, it had finished fourth, fourth and fifth in the constructors' championship and won a grand total of one race. This was, quite simply, not good enough for a marque of such a grand stature.
While the trajectory that threatened to make it a title contender heading into the August break did not continue in 2013 as Red Bull asserted itself and dominated the second half of the season, Mercedes' season was a huge step forward. Three victories, two for Nico Rosberg and one for newcomer Lewis Hamilton, and second in the world championship made Mercedes the biggest improver of this season.
With hopes high that the introduction of the 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines next year will allow Mercedes to mount a serious title challenge, the progress made in 2013 was hugely significant.