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Whilst Ferrari and Red Bull are the established championship contenders this year, there has been an expectation since the first round that Mercedes will inevitably return to the front. 

After almost a decade of Mercedes dominance in the hybrid era, fans began predicting when - not if - the Silver Arrows would make a comeback and fight for race victories. 

The German squad is yet to take victory this season but has demonstrated flashes of pace capable of challenging for wins on merit (Spain, Silverstone) and made steady progress in addressing their porpoising woes. 

With the first half of the season coming to an end, a championship fight will almost certainly be beyond Mercedes.

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However, there are two things in their favour, one of these being the application of the technical directive in Belgium, which is expected to advantage the Brackley-based team.  


Updates - yes, more updates - are expected to bring the team forward, with AMuS reporting that Mercedes will introduce their "best upgrades" in the next two rounds. 

It would be unwise to assume the W13's updates will guarantee improvements. There are many examples of Mercedes introducing updates that failed to have their desired impacts this season, so success should not be prematurely declared. 

Still, despite the budget cap, Mercedes continue to push forward with developments. Not all of these have been effective, and they have certainly experienced setbacks, but they are beginning to establish some consistency and improve on their glaring areas of weakness. 

Mercedes haven't hit the ground with these new regulations as they did when the hybrid era began in 2014, but they are within striking distance of the top teams and have a good foundation to build upon in upcoming seasons.