Mercedes drivers Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg have praised the team's new F1 W03's handling in comparison to its predecessor.
Both drivers were in the hunt for pole position in Australia on Saturday, with Rosberg leading the way in Q2 before making a mistake on his hot lap in Q3. That left him seventh on the grid, while Schumacher will start fourth.
"Since day one in this car, it was very obvious that it is much more to my liking [than the 2011 car]," said Schumacher. "If you look at the steering movements you have to do to get into the corners, they are probably half of what I had to do last year.
"It's definitely much more a racing car, that I can just feel and drive and do what I want to do [with it]. That was clear since the beginning of the winter tests, and all weekend here."
Rosberg added that the 2012 machine had the feel of a front-running car.
"You can definitely feel that this car is faster or more competitive," he said. "Even though it's difficult to compare to other cars and things like that, it's just more together. You can attack more. It feels faster, definitely.
"We are moving forward, much closer to the front. That's great news. It's so important that we progress towards the front, and we're doing that. And I also feel there is more to come."
Schumacher added some caution, pointing out that Mercedes had come from a long way adrift with its 2011 car.
"We look particularly good because we looked not so good last year," he said. "So in that respect, we moved up a big step, and this is what we are all very happy with – to have a stable base, a car without any particular problems that we can from here on focus forward on the development.
"But don't forget, Australia is not always a straightforward hint for the season. It's a bit particular, so although we are happy, we want to see reality in the future at different tracks and see what it all means."