“Mercedes staff living in constant fear”: Favourites admit to pre-season nerves

Mercedes technical director James Allison has admitted that the crew is living in ‘constant fear’ of being able to repeat the success it achieved last season.

The Silver Arrows have won the last seven constructors’ championships, but Allison believes there is always a worry their car isn’t fast enough.

Lewis Hamilton extending his contract will undoubtedly come as a boost for Mercedes as it starts the 2021 season as heavy favourites.

The fact that there has been so much movement in the driver market has made the team anxious.

“We exist for one purpose. That is to produce a racing car that’s capable of fighting at the front, and hopefully, securing wins and championships,” Allison said.

“At this stage of the year, you hope you’ve done enough work.

“But we’re never certain until the cars are actually on a track, doing it for real.

“Alongside all that excitement is the fear and that fear nagging away continuously at you.

“The moment you open your eyes in the morning, all the way through the day until you go to bed at night, the fear that you haven’t done enough.”

Meanwhile, Christian Horner believes Mercedes will pin its attention on Max Verstappen once Hamilton decides to call time on his career.

“I am sure that should Lewis decide to stop, then Max will naturally be the driver at the top of the list,” he said.

“Mercedes also have George Russell and other drivers available to them.

“It is all down to relationships and us having a competitive car and there are no guarantees for 2022.

“It is a complete clean sheet of paper so if there is going to be a significant mix-up of the order, one would assume it will come with that big regulation change.

“The reality is, that yes of course, as there has always been, there is an element of performance-related clauses to Max’s contract.

“It will be down to us to deliver a competitive car. That is what he wants and that is what we want, so we are in an identical situation,” he said.

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