Mercedes is keeping its fingers crossed that work on understanding the tire problems that have hurt it in the first two grands prix will help it finally deliver on its potential in the Chinese Grand Prix.
Although both Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher have been challengers for the front row in both Australia and Malaysia, the pair have scored just one point between them because their car has not been as strong in the races.
Detailed analysis of the problems – which included high degradation due to overheating in Australia and not getting the tires into the right operating window in Malaysia – has been completed, and efforts made to resolve the issues for Shanghai.
"We hope that the weekend will prove more successful than the first two races of the season where our race results did not match expectations after a positive start to both weekends," conceded Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn. "A lot of hard work and analysis has taken place back at the factory since our return, and I hope to see these efforts pay dividends next Sunday [April 15] in Shanghai with a performance which reflects the capabilities of the F1 W03."
Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug thinks China will provide an answer as to how well the team has addressed the tire problems, even if weather conditions will be different compared to the first two races of the campaign.
"The first two races of the 2012 Formula 1 season have been ones of unfulfilled promise for our team," he explained. "Michael's second row qualifying positions were less than half a second from pole in Australia and Malaysia, however at both events we did not convert our qualifying speed into a consistent race performance on Sunday when it counts.
"Since the last race in Malaysia, the team has conducted analysis of our tire usage during the first two rounds, and how we can improve. The Chinese Grand Prix will provide an answer on our progress, although weather conditions and circuit characteristics will be different to either Melbourne or Malaysia."