November 21st, 2012 (F1plus / Gustavo A Roche). - It seems very clear that the Mercedes team has dropped its efforts on its W-03 long ago (let’s say few months) and has been dedicated to next year’s machine and beyond.
The W03 performance has been fading with the passage of time, it was long ago that Nico Rosberg crossed the chequered flag first in Chinese soil; it was only the third round of the championship. .
While it is true that Red Bull took over the championship, it is also true that McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus have continued to work, and as a result there have claimed several victories (Lotus only one).
Even Fernando Alonso, with an inferior car than the might RB8 has decent chance to become champion this weekend in Brazil, partly because of the huge energy put by the team in pursuit of that goal.
Such has been the lack of development that Rosberg has not been able to bring a point since the Singapore GP when he came fifth, while Schumacher last units came in the Italian GP with a sixth.
Anyway, Mercedes arrives in Sao Paulo with his mind in 2013, proof of this has been the team starting to test components that will be applied for next year.
Nevertheless, getting into projections is a risky business but Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and even the team’s direct rival, Lotus must be careful and not to underestimate the German outfit.
Remember what Ross Brawn did in 2009 when he gave winner car to Jenson Button, and all despite having no support from any large manufacturer. Honda had retired from the sport at the beginning of the calendar year and had orphaned leaving up in this air longs months of works.
The truth was that Brawn managed to put the car with its wonderful double diffuser on the grid, and with that an unexpected champion emerged, Jenson Button (not that he did not have the skills, it was just unforeseen).
The 2008 crowns (Driver’s and Constructor’s) were an incredible team effort, and a big part of that was the lack of resources; financial, manpower, etc...
By the time Mercedes decided to move forward the season was over and Brawn had to basically start again in man aspects like adjusting to a new company structure, to develop new car for the Schumacher and Rosberg.
It is clear that with the arrival of Lewis Hamilton that pressure will increase over the team to deliver a competitive car that satisfies a person accustomed to win Grand Prix -21 in his career-and in each of the seasons he has participated.
In addition, the corporate patience must be starting to wane. The hierarchy of a company like Mercedes is enormous and results are expected within a reasonable period. If financial security, technical resources and proper management are in place, those results should come eventually, but the internal synergy is not working, they might never will.
Personally I believe the internal deadline that is set for the end of 2014 when turbo engines entered the Formula 1. Being Mercedes a manufacturer of these engines might bring a competitive advantage (same for all big manufactures). But if the objectives are not met or at least got close to, Mercedes might follow BMW’s path out of the category.