The fact it was Ferrari and Sauber not Mercedes that topped the times in Jerez has led some to believe that the gap has closed, but Mercedes designer Aldo Costa has warned there is plenty to come from Mercedes’ W06.
Some critics believe the championship winning team has played it too safe as the W06 closely resembles the W05, but Costa insists much has changed under the skin.
“The car is an evolution,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “But in reality it is very different in many parts that cannot be seen from the outside.”
In Jerez, the Anglo-German outfit was keeping its performance well and truly under wraps according to the Italian, as it chose to instead focus on its achilles heel last season; reliability.
“The improvement compared to 2014 was in line with what we expected,” he added. “We did not go to Spain to verify performance, but rather reliability and the behaviour of the car.
“Very little,” he responded when asked how much of the W06’s performance was seen at the first test. “But I think it is the same for us as it is with all the other teams.
“Only at the first race in Melbourne will we understand the true situation. And maybe not even there; we may need to wait four or five grands prix.”
Such is his confidence, he believes the team must set itself higher targets for 2015 than last year, despite winning both titles and a record number of race wins: “We have set ourselves significantly higher targets compared to last year.”