Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton reckons that Mercedes’ W09 does not have the ‘diva’ traits which were possessed by its predecessor.
Mercedes swept to both world titles for a fourth straight year with its W08, but its superiority was less pronounced, amid occasional struggles, usually with softer tyres at high-downforce circuits.
Mercedes’ W09 is an evolution of last year’s package, with the team having attempted to iron out its weaknesses, while maintaining the car’s inherent strengths.
Having conducted extensive running during pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Hamilton is optimistic that Mercedes has made gains with its new car.
“I think Toto [Wolff] said that [about the diva] but he never drove the car… no I think at the moment, we don’t, there doesn’t feel any of those [‘diva’ traits]," said Hamilton.
“We are just getting to know each other at the moment so I can’t call her a diva, but we shall see.
“Balance wise it’s not perfect at the moment but I am enjoying driving the car.
“When you leave the garage and you take the pit limiter off and you bomb it down to Turn 1… ah man, I wish you guys could feel it! It’s great, great fun.
“Obviously we have a lot more downforce, you get flat through Turn 3 for example, I think I was flat through Turn 9, which I have never been in the 10 years or whatever that I have been racing.”
Hamilton added that Mercedes is moving in a “positive direction” but was reluctant to lay down any predictions prior to the season-opening event in Australia.
“I personally feel stronger,” he said. “That’s a positive. I don’t know where we are in terms of the pack but our test has been very good, very productive, we got through everything we needed.
“Reliability has been fantastic and the car feels great.
“I mean we haven’t been working on balance or anything like that but in terms of some of the issues which we had last year, a lot of them, some of them at least, have been removed.
“But the track is a lot different what it used to be as you know because they resurfaced it and so it’s kind of misleading at the moment, it’s difficult to know until we get to Melbourne.
“I definitely feel we are moving in a positive direction.”