Mercedes-Benz AMG is riding the wave of momentum into Australia for the Formula 1 opener. After topping the time sheets over the final two days of testing last week, expectations for the team are beginning to change. Mercedes were originally set to just survive the 2013 season with Lewis Hamilton making the switch over from McLaren. The interesting thing about it is the top teams now believe Mercedes could be the favorite as we are just a week out from Australia. The question is will 2013 be beautiful letdown sequel if Mercedes fails to deliver?
Lewis who was originally just looking to string together a few good finishes seems to now think that Mercedes AMG will at least claim a victory in 2013. I would hope so given Nico Rosberg was able to secure a win in 2012. For a team like Mercedes, they need to move forward this season. While I hate to admit it, Lewis Hamilton taking over for Michael Schumacher is the right call. He brings pace no doubt about it. The question will remain about the chassis though. Does Mercedes AMG understand enough about the 2013 Pirellis to secure consistent results? A successful season for Mercedes would be to secure at least one driver in the top five on grand prix weekends. That’s about the best they can hope for with the quality of competition at the sharp end of the grid.
No I don’t think 2013 will be another beautiful letdown by Mercedes, but to consider them a serious threat for the title may be overdoing it a bit. We thought they would be a title contender last year, and while folks like Christian Horner can say all they want in the press about the Merc’s speed, I think it is a clever deflection from the quality of their own car. I, like Lewis, believe the team will take a victory. I don’t know where, but it will be early on during the campaign. When the development war kicks off as teams begin their title push, I think Mercedes will fall off just a bit from the lead teams.