Mercedes technical director James Allison has admitted that there is a fear they will be unable to replicate their success in the upcoming 2021 season.
The silver arrows have won seven straight Constructors’ Championships and are the overwhelming favourites to do so again.
Those hopes have only increased with world champion Lewis Hamilton confirming he will be in the car for at least one more season.
Hamilton’s future within F1 had come into focus, with the Brit technically unemployed following the expiration of his previous deal last year.
But the seven-time Drivers’ Championship winner ended speculation by signing a new one-year contract earlier this month.
Despite that, Allison has claimed that until they see the new car on the track, there will always be concerns about how competitive they can be.
"We exist for one purpose,” Allison said, as quoted by Essentially Sports.
"And that is to produce a racing car that’s capable of fighting at the front, and hopefully, securing wins and championships.
"At this stage of the year, you hope you’ve done enough work.
"But we’re never certain until the cars are actually on a track, doing it for real."
He added: "Alongside all that excitement is the fear and that fear nagging away continuously at you.
"The moment you open your eyes in the morning, all the way through the day until you go to bed at night, the fear that you haven’t done enough."
While Hamilton’s deal ends speculation about this campaign, the short-term nature of the contract will mean that names continue to be linked for 2022 and beyond.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has suggested that Max Verstappen will be at the top of Mercedes’ list – should they fail to reach another agreement next year.
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“I'm sure that should Lewis decide to stop, then Max would naturally be the driver at the top of the list, but they also have George Russell,” said Horner. “They've also got other drivers obviously available to them.”
However, Verstappen has a contract that runs through until the end of 2023 and Horner is confident that he still believes in the project with Red Bull.
“In my experience, I think the relationship with Max is very strong. He believes in the project, he believes in what we're doing.
“He sees the investment that Red Bull is making and this recent commitment on the powertrain. He believes in the people within the team and working within the team.”
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