Mercedes GP remains confident that it has made the right decision in opting to delay running of its new car until the second pre-season Formula 1 test, even though it is the only frontrunning outfit to adopt such a tactic.
The Brackley-based team announced last year that its 2012 contender would only hit the track at the second test in Barcelona. At the time, it was widely expected other outfits would follow suit because of the extra development time made available by skipping the first test.
However, even though its main rivals in the end stuck to their original plans to get cars out for the opening test in Jerez, Mercedes-Benz vice president of motorsport Norbert Haug is sanguine about his team's plan.
"If you have half-a-year's timeframe to develop a car, then 10 days can be crucial," Haug told AUTOSPORT in an exclusive interview. "That was our decision. We want to test the proper car, finalised in each and every detail. That's why we need development time.
"It's important to point out that it was a conscious decision. I know that all of the other teams will be there with their car [at Jerez] but this is not unusual. Other teams that have been in a catch-up process have decided to go run first at the second test, so this is not a new event.
"We fully appreciate that the other teams have different plans and are ready at the first test. But we are not delayed, we are just following our process, and then we will see what the outcome will be."
Pre-season testing is limited to only 12 days, meaning that Mercedes will have just eight days to get on top of its new car before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Haug added that the team has big ambitions for the first test as well, with its hoping to put mileage on new parts and also get valuable data on Pirelli's new 2012 tyres.
"We will have a couple of parts to learn from at the first test," he said. "We can use the new generation of tyres, which is a good way to draw a baseline because you have the data with the old tyres to compare it to.
"We need to learn more about the behaviour of the tyres on our car."