Sam Bird believes Mercedes are yet to unleash the full potential of the W05
Ex-Development Driver says team can "comfortably find more speed"
By William Esler
Last Updated: 04/06/14 2:59pm
The Silver Arrows have been the class of the field thus far in 2014 winning all six races, finishing one, two every time both cars have reached the chequered flag and locking out the frontrow on three occasions.
With such an advantage already, Bird's warning sounds rather ominous for the chasing pack and any hopes they have of closing the gap.
"I think that they have such a buffer at the moment that they are not showing their full potential," Bird told Sky Sports Online. "If it comes to it and people do start to get slightly closer, then you will see that they can comfortably find some more speed if they need to."
The 2013 GP2 runner-up now races in Formula E for Virgin Racing, but played a key role in the development of W05 during his time with Mercedes. Given how long the team had been working on their 2014 plans, the 27-year-old is not surprised by their advantage.
"They started work on it a long, long time ago," he revealed. "I remember back as far as 2011 there were already discussions and developments within the sim world, so they have been focussed on this project for a long, long time and it is no wonder that Mercedes are away in front."
The Drivers' Championship looks set to come down to a straight fight between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg and having worked with both, Bird says they are contrasting characters.
"They are both different kinds of drivers. Nico is exceptionally strong at working very, very hard with the boys to ensure that he is technically one of the best in the world," he added.
"Lewis obviously has massive natural ability and is confident in the car and how he is performing. It could be very close between the two at the end of the year. It depends on Lewis' form and Lewis' mood, but Nico will be there as well make no mistake."