Formula 1 - Half Mercedes team on '14 car by May

Mercedes will have switched more than half its workforce on to its 2014 Formula 1 car by May, says the firm's motorsport boss Toto Wolff.

Formula 1 - Half Mercedes team on '14 car by May

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Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Chinese GP

With the 2014 F1 regulations featuring the biggest technical changes in many years, as the current V8 engines are replaced by 1.6-litre V6 turbos, teams face a balancing act deciding how many resources to allocate to the next car without compromising their current campaign.

In an interview with the official F1 website, Wolff made it clear that 2014 will shortly have equal resources to developing the present W04.

"We're already working on 2014 and we'll gradually raise the percentage of people working on next year's car," he said.

"I would say that in May we will reach a point where more than 50 per cent will work on the 2014 car."

Wolff is sure most teams not at the front of the 2013 standings will follow Mercedes' example in time.

"Here is no doubt that at a point in the summer everybody will switch their main resources to the 2014 car, as this is a very complex and complicated machine," he said.

"Of course it all depends on where you are in the standings. Those who are fighting for the title will of course concentrate longer on this year's car."

But Wolff added that he did not want the 2013 championship to be neglected, and still had minimum expectations.

"I want to be among the four top teams in the constructors' championship and have a driver among the top four as well," he said.

There is nothing extraordinary about Mercedes having 50 per cent of its workforce focused on 2014 by May, but it is a reminder of what is really important for this team.

With the new 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines - or power units as they should more accurately be called - coming in at the start of the year, 2014 represents a major rules change.

At Brixworth, Mercedes is working hard on its new powerplants and it is essential for Brackley to ensure that it has a car to match the hoped-for quality of its engines.

It would be wrong to say that success this year is irrelevant in the long-term, but what is essential is that Mercedes is on the money at the start of the new era.

Sustaining its promising start to 2013 will be a valuable 'proof of concept' that it is in good shape, but next year is what matters.

After all, since the team came into being as BAR in 1999 amid the loftiest of ambitions, it has been a perennial underachiever.

Aside from the perfect storm of 2009, in extraordinary circumstances unlikely ever to be repeated, it has only a couple of victories to its name.

For Mercedes, nothing except sustained success is acceptable. And while much will depend on the quality of the engines, Brackley cannot afford not to deliver a strong car in a season that will shape the sport for the years that follow.

If that means sacrificing a few results in the back end of this year, so be it.

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