The Mercedes Formula 1 team begun its two-day test at Silverstone with Valtteri Bottas running a two-year-old W09 car.
The objective of the test is to trial new COVID-19 protocols for the start of the season in Austria next month, as well as providing track time for the drivers, and getting the team up to speed after the break.
The test has been permitted by the FIA as the team is using the 2018 car, which is being run to contemporary spec with no parts from the 2020 car installed. Tyres are provided by Pirelli, rather than the 2020 rubber.
Team principal Toto Wolff conceded that the forthcoming season will present some challenges for the teams.
“At least we know that we are going back to racing for the next few months.
“It’s a solid European calendar, and everybody back in in Brackley and Brixworth is happy that we can finally get back on track. We love the competition, and we missed that.
“It is a challenge. We are all aware why that is, but I think we owe it to our fans to give them racing and come up with a good show. Of course, it will be heavy for all of us, doing triple-headers, not being able to go home, but it’s these special circumstances.”
Wolff said it was impossible to gauge how the competitive balance may have changed between teams since winter testing.
“The time is very limited to work on the cars, we’ve barely had five weeks when we can do something. Of course, we will try to improve. Maybe bring an upgrade that would have been planned anyway for that time of the year.
“It’s going to be more of a live testing experience, rather than running it in previous races, in free practice sessions. So very exciting, very new. A curveball that is thrown at all of us. And may the best man win.”
Wolff also stated that he remains as motivated as ever ahead of the rescheduled season-opener at the Red Bull Ring.
“When we went racing in Australia I didn’t look forward to it, because I had six so intense seasons fighting for world championships, so that the mental exhaustion was still there.
“When it got cancelled obviously we didn’t know what happened, and I’m very happy now, because we’ve been starved of F1 and I’m very much looking forward to going back to racing.
“In a way sadly there will be not a lot of fans, and not a lot of media, but it’s been reduced to what I love the most, and that is the competition.”
Defending world champion, Lewis Hamilton is scheduled to test the car in tomorrows test session.