Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn is under no illusion of the problems his marque face in this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix in a bid to head into Formula One’s summer break on a high.
Searing temperatures are expected over Budapest, with the early race-day forecast predicting 36C, the kind of conditions the Mercedes’ duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg cannot cope with.
Where there is heat there is high tyre degradation on the Mercedes cars during a grand prix, which has undermined the team’s sizzling qualifying form as Hamilton and Rosberg have taken six of the last seven pole positions between them.
Add in the fact Mercedes were banned from last week’s young driver test at Silverstone where Pirelli’s new range of tyres were analysed by the other 10 teams, and the Brackley-based marque heads to the Hungaroring on the backfoot.
Following a number of high-speed blowouts during the British Grand Prix, Pirelli was forced to revise its rubber which means from this weekend last season’s construction is now married to this year’s compounds.
Mercedes, after conducting a private test with Pirelli in Barcelona in May which resulted in their ban, only have data given to them by the Italian manufacturer from the young driver test to fall back on.
Appreciating the difficulties, Brawn said: ‘The final race before the summer break is always a milestone for the team and an opportunity to review our performance before our staff enjoy a well-deserved break during the summer shutdown.
‘Our team are currently second in the constructors’ championship with two race wins to date.
‘However, the season has not been without its challenges and we have had some very tough races.
‘This happens over the course of a season and you have to take the highs and lows and find your path to making improvements.
‘Both Nico and Lewis have visited the factory in the two weeks since we returned from Germany and everyone has been working very hard to investigate our tyre sensitivities ahead of the elevated temperatures we will undoubtedly experience this weekend in Budapest.
‘Friday will also be our first opportunity to work with the new tyres on our car, so we have a great deal to learn in a short space of time.
‘We want to finish the first half of the season on a high, but the challenge facing us is clear.’
For Hamilton, the fact he has failed to yet win for Mercedes in his debut campaign, whilst Rosberg has taken the chequered flag twice, is irksome.
But the 28-year-old has a superb record in Hungary, winning on three occasions in his six years in F1, and there is an obvious eagerness to improve on that record.
But like Brawn, Hamilton recognises that is easier said than done.
‘It is an important weekend for us, and we need to get off to a good start on Friday when we have the chance to try the new tyres for the first time,’ said Hamilton.
‘I’ve spent some time at the factory since we returned from Germany and I know everyone is working really hard to improve our overall performance and to address the issues we experienced at the last race.
‘It would be great to reward all of that effort with a strong weekend in Budapest, and I’ll certainly