Mercedes says it is "curious" to find out if it really got to the bottom of its struggles at last year's Singapore Grand Prix, ahead of its return to the city state's street circuit next weekend
The Brackley-based team endured its worst performance of recent years at the Marina Bay circuit in 2015 as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg could not get decent performance out of their tyres.
Although the team believed a post-weekend investigation into what went wrong delivered answers about how to improve its tire management and setup, it will have no proof about its progress until F1 returns to Singapore.
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff said the issue had been discussed by the team over the Italian Grand Prix weekend, and admitted that there could not yet be totally confidence about its hopes.
“We had a discussion in the briefing about Singapore,” explained Wolff. “We weren’t competitive last year and I think we understood why.
"We made some conclusions which helped us in the following races and throughout the season. So in Singapore we are going to check whether our assumptions were right.”
Wolff said that Mercedes' Singapore woes last year were not the result of one thing going wrong, but were caused by a perfect storm of circumstances relating to car set-up and tire temperatures.
“There is no silver bullet,” he said. “There is not one thing that went wrong. Many things went together, which is why I am excited and curious to see how Singapore is going to work.
“You can see that where we got it right is that our car is the best compromise. We have 21 races throughout the season and we have to have a chassis-engine combination that works well on average [everywhere].
“But you have teams that have outliers. You have a team that is doing extremely well on circuits like Singapore, with high downforce, but they are not competitive on a circuit like Monza.
“Then you can play the blame game and say the engine is not good enough. But if your car is draggy and has a rake like you are doing a handstand, then you cannot expect to go fast on the straights. It is about finding the best compromise and let’s see what happens in Singapore.”
Nico Rosberg backed up Wolff's conviction that Mercedes could not be totally relaxed on its return to Singapore.
“We cannot go there with too much confidence because we were miles off last year,” said the German. “In qualifying I think we were 1.8 seconds off the pace, if I am not mistaken. That is huge.
“It was our most difficult race ever, probably, in the last years, so it will be a very, very challenging race for us. But 1.8 seconds? It is not going to be easy to improve.”