Mercedes driver and recent Australian Grand Prix race winner Nico Rosberg has said that his team must not “fall asleep” by assuming that their current one-second advantage is here to stay regardless.
Speaking on AUTOSPORT, the German said “it is early days, so there are still lots of things that can be done better.”
Indeed, Mercedes’ previous incarnation as Brawn GP narrowly avoided being caught by a rapidly emerging Red Bull in 2009 as Jenson Button won the championship in a season in which early dominance saw him win the first seven races.
Rosberg was therefore wary of the strong likelihood of rivals such as McLaren – they secured a 2-3 finish in Australia after Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification – closing the gap that currently stands.
"We have to keep the momentum going and not let our rivals catch up. That is the most important thing: to keep pushing,” he continued.
"When you have that advantage there is the possibility that you get a bit confident.
"It is a new situation for us and we need to make sure that we keep pushing, which I trust for sure we will.
Certainly, with a massive change in regulations that have seen a shift to 1.6 litre V6 turbo-charged engines, many teams have struggled with developing what is essentially a new formula.
Renault-powered Red Bull and Lotus had a very poor pre-season, although qualifying and race-pace shown by Red Bull’s Australian Daniel Ricciardo has gone some way to improving the team’s outlook.
By contrast, Mercedes had the strongest pre-season out of any team and showed their dominance when Lewis Hamilton grabbed pole in Melbourne and Rosberg took the chequered flag after an unfortunate engine problem for Hamilton.
Rosberg also pointed to the aforementioned 2009 season, insisting that past experience will help this time around.
"A lot of the people are still here from the Brawn days, and they know what it means to be at the front and to make sure that we stay in front and not get caught.
"We cannot fall asleep now. The rivals are going to be pushing like mad."