The German manufacturer has found itself in need of a rapid response to the lack of performance of its new W14 car, which has proved to be no match for the pace-setting Red Bull squad.
Team boss Toto Wolff has already talked about Mercedes needing to evaluate an all-new concept for the car in the long-term, while it also ponders what gains it can find in the near future.
With Lewis Hamilton having spoken openly about his belief the team did not listen to him over the direction of its new F1 machine, the team has issued a rallying cry to fans to insist it remains unified in the challenges it now faces.
In an open letter it published on Saturday, Mercedes said it felt the same pain as its followers – and was not shying away from how much work it now faced to recover.
“To all our fans,” the team wrote. “Bahrain hurt. It hurt each one of us, who head into every season determined to fight for world championships.
“It hurt the team as a whole, after pouring so much hard work into a car that hasn’t met our expectations. And we know it hurt you, our fans, too. Your passion and support are so important in driving us forward – and we know that we feel the same pain.
“The situation we face right now isn’t the one that any of us wanted – but it’s the one we have. That’s the reality of it. And the simple questions are: what can we do about it, and what will we do about it?”
Mick Schumacher, Reserve Driver, Mercedes-AMG, with Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG
Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images
Explaining its recovery plan, Mercedes said that it was focused only on making improvements rather than wasting effort singling out individuals to blame for what had gone wrong.
“First, we won’t panic or make knee-jerk reactions,” it added. “In a spotlight as fierce as F1, people are quick to point fingers, or look for scapegoats. But you know us better than that.
“Inside the team, we talk about having the courage to fail, the character to be accountable and the strength to see failure as an opportunity. We have been open and searingly honest about where we find ourselves.
“And we are working urgently and calmly to build our recovery plan, focusing on what needs to happen short term, medium term, and long term to win.
“We already have developments in the pipeline for the next races – and there will be more to come. But this won’t be the work of a moment; there are no silver bullets in F1.”
While Mercedes finished just behind Ferrari in Bahrain, it is clear that its performance was far below its targets.
“We know the standards we aspire to, and nobody is flinching when we look at the mountain we must climb,” the letter added.
“It won’t be easy – but where’s the value in something easy? These are the times when character is forged; the times when a team becomes greater than the sum of its parts, tackling difficult problems and conquering them.
“We’re together through thick and thin – from Toto, Lewis and George [Russell], to every single woman and man in the factories in Brackley and Brixworth. And we love that challenge.”
The full letter from Mercedes about its start to the 2023 season can be read here.