New Package Boosts Mercedes Confidence

Mercedes GP's development programme for the 2011 season of Formula 1 is going as planned, and everybody inside their garage is feeling confident that they can become a force in the upcoming campaign. And it all comes only a few weeks after several reports had suggested their W02 is at least one second off pace to presumable chart-topper Red Bull RB7.

Unsurprisingly, the change in attitude came this week after the team had implemented the first stage of upgrades set up for the Barcelona group test. Nico Rosberg drove the improved car during yesterday's running, debuting a new exhaust system and several other aerodynamic tweaks and finishing the day some 4 seconds behind Vettel.

Nevertheless, the German was more than satisfied with the result, as he ran the entire day with the tank almost full, focusing on medium to long stints. On 10-lap stints, it was reported that their times are quite competitive in comparison to Red Bull and Ferrari. And, considering that there are even more improved parts to come this week, optimism is the word of the week at Mercedes.

We had glimpses that showed that the full package should be a big step,” said Rosberg after the Wednesday meeting. “I had plenty of fuel in the tank all day,” he explained his time deficit to Red Bull, while adding: “They are doing strong times. I don't want to say that we can beat them but we are going to improve.”

As said, yesterday was only the first day of updates for Mercedes, who has in store plenty of more improved parts for the remaining 3 days of action (since they started the test in Catalunya one day late). Michael Schumacher will reportedly debut new front and rear wings on Thursday, while further alterations to the car's sidepods and brake ducts are also to come this week.

Then we will see the true strength of the car,” said Rosberg. “I am hopeful because I know what other parts are still to come,” he added.
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