Mercedes is eyeing a “chunk” of car updates to bring to the opening race of the delayed 2020 Formula 1 season at Austria’s Red Bull Ring.
Next month’s Austrian Grand Prix will be the first race in fourth months prior to the original season-opening event in Australia being cancelled on the eve of the weekend.
All teams have endured a lengthy delay whilst the campaign was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with cars not having been run in anger since winter testing back in February.
The first eight European races have already been confirmed, which will see all be run within a 10-week span, and reigning champions Mercedes is already turning its attention to car development.
The team’s technical director James Allison revealed a significant amount of work has gone into developing the W11’s package, despite the shutdown period delaying proceedings.
“If you imagine where the launch car was and the car that would have gone to Australia, that was frozen around about Christmas,” Allison said in a video posted on title sponsor Petronas’ social media channels.
“There was the whole of January, whole of February, March, all making the car quicker in the wind tunnel and also in the design departments.
“We got quite a lot of ideas about how to make it quicker, and quite a lot of those ideas were already in process through the design office before we were forced to shut down nine weeks ago.
“Our challenge now is to make sure that quarter of a year of development can get off the drawing boards and onto the car as swiftly as possible.
“We hope to have a chunk of that for the first race in Austria, and the season that follows will of course take as much of the development as fast as we can get it onto the car in turn.”
Mercedes chases a record-breaking seventh straight constructors’ title this year, and its performance in testing suggests it remains clear favourites to retain its crown.
Although Allison expects the extended break puts the drivers in a vulnerable position with limited preparation for Austria, he believes both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will ready to return to racing.
“I expect mentally it’s tougher for the drivers than for the team, this period of waiting,” Allison said.
“For the drivers, all the peaks of emotion are amplified, the highs are higher, the lows are lower. To get yourself ready to go at the start of a season, and then have it taken away from you the way that it was in Melbourne, that’s tough I think for the drivers to take.
“It will be a sign of their resilience and competitiveness to see them bristle back to work with all the vim and vigour that is necessary to be right on it from the start.
“I have little doubt both Lewis and Valtteri will be ready to go when it matters in Austria.”