Mercedes plays down status as 2014 Formula 1 favourite after test

Mercedes thinks it is far too soon to call it the favourite for early-season Formula 1 success, despite a promising first 2014 test

Mercedes plays down status as 2014 Formula 1 favourite after test

The German manufacturer bounced back from a front-wing failure on the opening day at Jerez to show an impressive level of reliability with its new car, even completing a race distance.

That performance was in stark contrast to potential title rival Red Bull, which endured a nightmare test thanks to a spate of cooling and power unit problems that meant it completed just 21 laps.

But although Mercedes' form was better than even it expected, team chief Toto Wolff was keen to play down talk that it had stolen a march on the opposition.

Mercedes wins the phony war

When asked what his reaction was to those who suggest Mercedes is clear favourite after Jerez, Wolff told AUTOSPORT: "I think these people should look at the past.

"Very often the so-called favourites after the first couple of days of testing were not the favourites when the season actually started or panned out. It is too early right now."

While buoyed by what Mercedes achieved at Jerez, Wolff made it clear that no team had shown off its full performance yet.

Ten things we learned from Jerez

"I would say we are cautiously satisfied," he said. "We thought that we could be running into more problems than we actually did with the whole new concept.

"It looked difficult on the first day of testing, but in the end the car seems to be running reliably.

"We cannot judge performance yet - we are far away from performance, far away from what we think what our potential is.

"There are still little bits and pieces missing, and not functioning in the way we want them to function.

But we are cautiously optimistic and it looks like the guys have done a good job."

COOLING STILL A CHALLENGE

Wolff reckoned that the next test in Bahrain would prove more significant for finding out how well Mercedes had adapted to the regulations.

He cited cooling as a key area that was not challenged as much at Jerez as it will be during the season.

Gary Anderson's Jerez test review

"The data we have acquired shows that cooling is going to be an issue," he said.

"Even at Jerez, with the ambient [temperature] being quite cold, we were experiencing a high level of temperatures and challenges on the cooling side.

"We have seen for some of our competitors it is even more. Certainly Bahrain is going to be a very interesting new experience in terms of cooling levels. This is going to be one of the main challenges of the season."

HOW THE MILEAGE STACKED UP FOR MERCEDES

F1 teams had been bracing themselves for a tough time at Jerez as they got their first track taste of the new 2014 turbo engines.

In the end, Mercedes had plenty of reasons to feel satisfied with just how much mileage it completed with the works cars of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, plus customer teams McLaren, Force India and Williams.

A comparison of its performances from the last five years shows how the distance covered in 2014 was not much below what it had achieved in recent years - and even better than the first years of the new Silver Arrows.

Total Mercedes-Benz engine mileage from first test each year
2010: 2226km (3 days)
2011: 3240km
2012: 4290km
2013: 4330km
2014: 3874km
Average distance covered per Mercedes-Benz car each day at first test each year
2010: 371km
2011: 270km
2012: 358km
2013: 361km
2014: 242km
shares
comments
Gary Anderson's Jerez test review

Previous article

Gary Anderson's Jerez test review

Next article

Ferrari boosted by windtunnel results following first F1 test of 2014

Ferrari boosted by windtunnel results following first F1 test of 2014
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Mercedes
Author Jonathan Noble
How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight Plus

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight

In Max Verstappen's Formula 1 career to date, he has been cast as the 'pretender', an acknowledged top-line performer without the car to regularly challenge Lewis Hamilton. But that no longer applies in 2021, and the start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the most telling signal yet of what we can expect from their duel this year

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Plus

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari Plus

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari

Ninety years ago, Rudolf Caracciola became the first non-Italian to win the epic Mille Miglia. We look at how he stacks up to the most famous pre-war ace Tazio Nuvolari, one of the drivers he beat on that day in 1931

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021