What did Mercedes do in 2014 to become half a second faster than their closest rivals in each lap? Does it have to do with aerodynamics or the engine? What are the speculations at least? Did they discover something or invented something?
What did they do? Their job, better than other teams did theirs.
It's widely accepted that Mercedes' 2014 advantage comes primarily from their engine (note that the same engine powered 7 of the top 8 at this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix so it cannot be exclusively attributed to the engine else all those teams would be 0.5 secs faster).
Only yesterday, Sky Sports F1 reported speculation about one specific element that might provide their advantage: http://www1.skysports.com/f1/news/12472/9243875/revealed-how-mercedes-packaging-of-their-turbo-engine-has-given-them-the-edge
Sky F1 analyst Hughes has learnt that, in a highly complicated engineering feat, the team have successfully packaged their turbine and air compressor at either end of the W05's engine.
The innovative design - which, like the best ideas, sounds simple, is vastly complex and brilliantly effective - is believed to have been conceived over two years ago.
The revelation is also the best explanation yet for why the W05 has so far proved unbeatable in 2014...
Why does this work?
The 'trick turbo layout' triggers a series of critical performance benefits. As the air is not travelling through as much pipework, a reduction in turbo lag means less power needs to be be harvested from the car's ERS unit to keep the turbine spooled off throttle. That in turn improves the efficiency of the car, with more power reserved for performance gain and less fuel consequentially used up.
With the compressor further away from the turbine - which is spun by hot exhaust gases - the W05 has a smaller intercooler, meaning Mercedes are running with smaller sidepods which boost aerodynamic performance.
Furthermore, with the compressor in front of the engine, Mercedes have also moved their car's gearbox forward, improving its centre of gravity and therefore, in theory, its handling.