We hardened fans are used to seeing hope in testing only to face a harsher reality when the season starts. I'll admit I'm a skeptic resisting hopes coaxing. I resist because I've been here before only to be let down, repeatedly. A bitter pill for the uninitiated.
This team has a history of looking reasonable but come race day- they (more often than not) just fall back. In qualifying, top teams improve with each qualifying session, usually having something in reserve for Q3- Merc seems to wring everything out of the car in Q2. Then they just can't hang in Q3 or, chose not to even try to save tires. Their in season development rate has never been close to the likes of Ferrari, Mclaren or Redbull. They've come out and admitted this openly.
The harshest reality is that their (design and development) staff hasn't appreciably changed from last season. We can talk reshuffle but neither Haug nor schumacher (the significant personnel changes) had a DIRECT hand in development- they weren't the problem (IMHO).
Is Lewis' going to help the team? Probably- he brings new fans, fresh perspective coming from a top team, even removes some doubt that maybe, just maybe, the drivers have been part of the problem. But if the old driver and old "head" weren't the problem, their replacements won't be the solution.
The facts admitted by the team, their peers and every credible expert, is that Mercedes cars- W01, W02 and W03, were 1) not good enough out of the box to compete with the top 3 teams AND 2) the design and development team/structure, were not good enough to make up for that shortcoming with superior development. The fist problem could be overcome by the second, and if the first deficiency was a great strength, the second would matter less (think Brawn GP 2009). To these 2 main failings, I haven't seen an improvement (yet).
That last tenet of hope is - "well W04 is the first car fully conceived and designed by Costa and the dream team". My response to that is- True BUT- 1) Costa was released by Ferrari and in essence blamed for their design woes so his involvement alone isn't the same as if Newey had designed W04. 2) Costa, and essentially every other main player (Bell,Willis) were on staff last year and their development wasn't good enough.
Sure Toto may drive them harder, they may get luckier, they may be more motivated.... but none of them will suddenly gain 50 IQ points as a result. This is the same design/development staff as last season and I suspect only marginal improvement for this year.
I hope to be proven wrong but the definition of insanity always comes to mind (doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results).
Edited by jav, 23 February 2013 - 15:31.