Mercedes technical director James Allison has admitted that the team are feeling “apprehensive” about the upcoming 2024 season, although this is combined with being “excited” and “frightened”.
It’s definitely a nervy wait for the Silver Arrows until not only pre-season testing but also the season-opener, both of which are taking place at the Bahrain International Circuit.
The side have taken a huge gamble for this year, by deciding to work on an entirely new concept following their constant struggles the last two seasons.
What exactly Mercedes’ new concept will look like is relatively unknown, although all will be revealed on February 14.
Mercedes has opted for a Valentine’s Day launch of the W15, the name given to their 2024 challenger.
All the Brackley-based team want is for their new car to handle “happier”, something which if happens, will bring delight and confidence to both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
With Hamilton having put his faith in the Silver Arrows for at least another two seasons, it’s imperative that the team reward him with a strong car, to give him a chance of claiming an elusive eighth Drivers’ Championship.
Mercedes are also hungry in general to return to the top and topple Red Bull, who are widely expected to dominate once again this year.
Regardless of whether the Austrians – who Allison thinks won’t be “sleeping easy” – are unstoppable again in the upcoming season, Mercedes’ technical director is confident that the Germans have made some “reasonable grounds”.
“It’s impossible at this time of year to be anything other than apprehensive, coupled with excited, coupled with frightened,” Allison told Motorsport.com.
“Those are always the emotions that you feel, and I would imagine that even in Red Bull, after a year of such good performance, they will not be sleeping easy in their beds either because no one knows what everyone else will deliver.
“However, what we do have some hope for is that some of the more spiteful characteristics of the rear end of our car will be a bit more friendly to us, and the handling of the car a happier thing.
“That’s all in simulation, but nevertheless we’ve got reasonable grounds to believe that we’ve made some gain there.”