Mercedes: Every week we're analysing how much focus we switch to 2017

Mercedes are analysing "every week" how much of their focus should be switched over to next year's car, which represents a major challenge with the introduction of new technical regulations.

Teams up and down the grid face a dilemma as the 2016 progresses, as they must decide when to switch focus and therefore abandon the development of their current cars - a decision which could cost them valuable points and therefore risk their championship position, with a drop of just one place costing tens of millions in prize money payments.

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff says those that switch too late risk falling behind in the development stakes, particularly as a number of teams have already switched their focus 100 per cent to 2017, therefore Mercedes must analyse with each passing week how much it moves over.

"We are now entering a time where things are complicated even more by some big decisions to be made," said Wolff. "Every week we must analyse how much resource we move across to the 2017 project – but that’s a tricky balance.

"Some teams will have stopped 2016 development very early – as early as February maybe, once the current cars hit the circuit. That does give them an advantage, as the learning curve is very steep at the beginning.

"If you are a few weeks behind you can find yourselves much further back in the end. We may be halfway through the battle for this year – but the hard work is only just beginning."