Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton had his first taste on Friday of the Mercedes W07 and his team mate Nico Rosberg also drives at Silverstone circuit for a filmed promotional day ahead of official pre-season testing that starts in Barcelona on Monday.
“Everything has gone very well,” technical head Paddy Lowe told Reuters. “We haven’t even taken the engine cover off yet in the whole morning session which is a really good sign of the reliability that we’ve achieved at this point.”
Lowe said the latest specification engine, even without running at full throttle, was “a little bit louder” than last year’s.
Ferrari, who presented their new car online on Friday, closed the gap last year and Lowe said the Italian squad would again be pushing them hard.
“We see them as our main threat coming out of where all the teams were last year,” he said. “It remains to be seen how we position ourselves in the weeks to come.
“Ferrari definitely are a very strong competitor and one we worry about. It keeps us motivated to keep pushing all the time.”
Hamilton will be in the new car on the first and third days of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, with Rosberg driving on Tuesday and Thursday. The running order is the reverse of last year’s opening test.