Toto Wolff has insisted Mercedes has learned from their problems at high downforce tracks, but is all to aware of the pitfalls that face his team in Singapore.
Despite winning with Nico Rosberg last time out in Singapore, Mercedes faces a fresh challenge around the Marina Bay circuit with the temperamental ‘diva’ that is the W08 chassis.
“Identifying clearly our strengths and our weaknesses has been a strength of our team in recent seasons,” Wolff said. “As we have pushed to become better and stronger in every area, we have put the finger in the wound in order to understand the root causes of both our good performances and the bad ones.
“In 2015, Singapore provided us with one of the most painful experiences in recent seasons, so we rolled up the sleeves, learned from it and managed to bounce back with a great win last year.
“But notwithstanding that success, this is a circuit we have found difficult to master with its combination of short, sharp corners, relatively short straights and bumpy surface. And we head to Asia this time round with the expectation that we have a big challenge ahead of us.”
Given the consistent pace of Ferrari, who are expected to be the favourites in Singapore, Red Bull is also tipped to also spring a surprise especially given the nature of the circuit which should suit their car.
The Mercedes boss is conscious of the threats his team face by the opposition, but insists they have learned a lot from their troubles around circuits requiring high levels of downforce.
“So far this year, we have seen the pendulum swing according to circuit type,” he added. “On the surface, Singapore is the kind of circuit that should favour both Ferrari and Red Bull. Both have shown strong performance on low-speed circuits demanding maximum downforce, and we have found life more difficult at those places in 2017.
“Sometimes, characteristics like this are simply in the DNA of a car. Nevertheless we learned a lot from our struggles in Monaco, raised our level of performance significantly in Hungary and we have made good progress in understanding what we need to do in order to get the most from the chassis.”