After a calamitous online reveal ceremony, Mercedes-AMG F1 has finally pulled the covers off it's 2013 entry, the W04.
Heralded by chief engineer Ross Brawn as the start of a "second era for the Silver Arrows', the W04 certainly has high expectations for this year: not only has the car been developed by an almost-completely restructured team since Mercedes aquired the Brawn GP outfit at the end of 2009, but – with the arrival of Lewis Hamilton – even Bernie Ecclestone says the team has "no excuses" for failure this year.
However, the team does seem mostly optimistic over it's chances this year. Brawn, for instance, states the W04 is a "clear evolution in design and detail sophistication", which reflects the "maturity" of the restructured team.
The drivers themselves were also fairly satisfied with how well the car steered on the track, with Nico Rosberg stating it "doesn't feel too bad at all".
When questioned on the potential of a revamp iN performance, though, the two drivers appeared to be less optimistic/more realistic towards their chances, with both stating that this year is all about taking things "one step at a time".
Indeed, BBC F1's Gary Anderson doesn't seem to satisfied with the overall package of the W04, stating that, whilst some elements have been worked on, such as the front brake ducts, other areas such as the adaptation of the vanity panel and the bodywork design of the sidepods and the main fuselage simply "confuse" him.
First impressions of the Mercedes W04
Ask any F1 technical analyst on their opinion of the W04, and it's likely they won't be 100% satisfied with it – whilst there are improvements, it perhaps isn't on the scale of the big step forward that some of the team's high-ranking officials suggest.
Indeed, if the car is just an evolution of the W03 as it was at the end of the season, seeing a Silver Arrow back on the podium might be something we'll see later rather than sooner.
Or maybe not. Remember, Mercedes's trump card is Lewis Hamilton and, even though his first step is to simply finish a race in a Mercedes, you can pretty much guarantee yourself he'll be pushing that car to the absolute limit.
And, given Fernando Alonso proved last year that you don't need the fastest car on the grid to be in the running for the chamionship crown, there's always the chance that Lewis could pose an credible threat to the front runners if the car isn't too far off the pace, and if the team can maintain the R&D work over the course of the season.
Of course, we won't know for sure if Mercedes does have what it takes to truly be a force to be reckoned with until the season opener Down Under at Albert Park in March. But us here at Team VVV are inclined to at least give the Mercedes squad a chance to redeem itself after the catastrophe that was the 2012 season.
So, Mercedes, please don't disappoint us this year!