Formula 1's managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn thinks that there is a strong chance Mercedes will jump ahead of the rest of the field next season. The Silver Arrows are by far the most successful team of the V6 Hybrid era, having wrapped up four consecutive constructor's titles.
After the sport introduced new regulations regarding the aerodynamic packages of the cars this year, Mercedes found itself being challenged for the first time since 2014. Ferrari returned to the front and hassled Mercedes, but its title hopes faded after a disastrous series of races in Asia.
With the 2017 season wrapped up, Brawn fears that Mercedes could extend its advantage at the front of the field for another year in 2018: "They've got a great group of people, but my slight worry is that they will get even stronger now," he told ESPN. "They've had a change of senior management, Paddy Lowe left and James Allison came - and that was in the middle of a car [regulation] change, which is not easy.
"By their own admission, the car they had this year was a bit of a diva and I strongly suspect that's not going to be the case next year," he added. "So I just see, unfortunately in many ways, a continuation of the steamroller. Let's hope I'm wrong!"
Following the season finale at Abu Dhabi, many fans complained about the lack of overtaking during the race. Brawn insists that people mustn't forget the exciting races throughout the year, but states that work will be done to improve the spectacle.
"We have to keep a balanced view. We had some great races this season, so Abu Dhabi wasn't the greatest, but we had some great races this year," he said. "I think it's a combination of the circuits, the cars we have, the drivers and how competitive everyone is, so I'm optimistic we can have a very strong year next year.
"But in terms of changing the cars, in terms of tuning the circuits and in terms of perhaps developing the tyres to help the racing, that is going to take some time. But I think you will see over the next few years that every decision will be made to move in that direction, whereas before that was not always the case. I think I can make a commitment that every sporting and technical decision we take will be in the direction of improving the racing and improving the show."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing