Mercedes admits to a “few little issues” with power unit

As fans, with relentless encouragement from the teams on social media, count down the days to next week’s launches, the fact is that the cars we see unveiled will bear little resemblance to what hits the track in Melbourne a month later.

Indeed, it is expected that a number of teams – not least Ferrari – will follow Mercedes strategy from last year and basically run a different car in the second test to what it runs in the first.

While we finally get a glimpse of the true pecking order come qualifying in Melbourne, in Barcelona, over the course of the six days of testing, we can expect a certain amount of sandbagging.

In recent weeks there have been mixed messages coming out of Maranello regarding Ferrari‘s 2020 contender, but now Mercedes claims to have its issues.

“There’s lots going on in Brixworth,” says engine boss, Andy Cowell in a brief video posted on Twitter this morning, “lots of improvements across the whole power unit on the ERS side and internal combustion engine side.

“But we are fighting a few little issues as we pull everything together,” he admits. “So, lot’s of work going into building the right spec, getting it to long run and then providing the power units to the teams so they can fire up their cars, and then getting the hardware to go track testing for the car launch on February 14th.

“Then we’ll head of the Barcelona to hopefully have three cars pounding round the track. Just six days of track testing before we’re off to Melbourne.

“And with the race pool, a huge number of those parts are already made, assemblies going together and the challenge of getting everything to the other side of the world. “So, busy time chasing bits of performance, getting the reliability there and getting a huge amount of hardware to the other side of the world.”

Despite securing a sixth successive double last year, Mercedes was clearly under pressure, particularly in the latter stages of the season, and while there remains a question mark over the Ferrari engine, there is no doubt that Honda will have continued to make progress.

Then again, when it comes to sandbagging and playing the underdog, the Three Pointed Star has history.