It may be just one extra week, but the time between the Malaysian Grand Prix and this weekend's race in China could be just what Mercedes needed to get its 2012 challenge firing on track.
McLaren has proved the team to beat in the opening two races, clocking up 55 points from a possible total of 86 to head the constructors' championship by 13 points from Red Bull and 20 ahead of Ferrari. In contrast, Mercedes, tipped as potential challengers after pre-season testing, are down in ninth with just one point.
While results in the early races are very often unsettled as the teams find their feet, outright pace cannot be hidden — and Mercedes is the most overt example of this in 2012.
In qualifying, the top ten has been very tight but Mercedes' Michael Schumacher has claimed a second row spot on both occasions, 0.4s off pole in Australia and less than 0.2s off in Malaysia. In the races, however, their challenge has faded dramatically due to tyre wear.
Small consolation so far is that the fortunes of other front-running rivals have also suffered in the races, as demonstrated by the fact that seven different teams finished in the top ten in Melbourne and nine filled the top ten in Sepang.
But as the season begins to settle down, a true order will soon shake out and, for Mercedes, the results from the last three weeks of off track testing will be crucial for their season.
One of the primary reasons for their strong pace on a single lap is their unique and innovative new 'f-duct' system, which can be used throughout the whole lap in qualifying as opposed to on just one or two sections of the track in overtaking conditions during the race.
But the biggest factor causing the drop-off in performance in the race is the sensitive way in which the car works its tyres.
In Melbourne, the Mercedes overheated its tyres quickly in the heat and lost pace. Come Malaysia, it struggled to warm them up enough in cooler conditions during the race. The conclusion from these two issues at opposite ends of the scale is that the car has a narrow window in which it can get its tyres to their optimum temperature — and a tyre that is not in that zone will degrade far more quickly than one that is.
The team accumulated plenty of data over the first two races to take back to Brackley and plug into their simulation systems, and it is here that the seven-poster testing rig will come into its own.
This rig, which consists of a full-size car sitting on movable hydraulic posts, can take live data from the track and run through a simulated series of laps of that circuit, with rig engineers tweaking elements of the set-up to help understand how to improve the real-life performance.
Over the last three weeks, Mercedes engineers will have been running it as much as possible, plugging in different settings and set-ups to try to understand why the car is reacting the way it is — and to try to predict how it will react in China.
The China circuit has traditionally high tyre degradation but it is different to the first two in that it demands more from the front tyres than the rears. Pirelli will provide medium and soft tyres, the same as used in Melbourne, but with ambient temperatures generally quite low compared to Australia, the way these tyres react is expected to be completely different.
If Mercedes work out how to make their car work in that situation, the other elements of the track could work in their favour.
More than 20 percent of the China track is made up of one 1,170m-long main straight and on top of this there are four different places at which the cars reach 285 km/h.
That is perfect for Mercedes' combination of a powerful engine and the f-duct system, which claims to be worth at least 0.3s over their rivals. In qualifying at least, that could give them a real chance to build on their single-lap performance and take pole position. And once there, it could provide a strong defence to any challenge.
On the flipside, though, there is the issue of their rivals' three weeks of development.
While Mercedes — like Ferrari and, to some extent, Red Bull - have had to spend their time solving problems, McLaren has been able to push forward with their planned developments and are likely to take another step forward in China. Lotus, too, have started strongly and are promising a 0.2s gain through a new aerodynamics package.
Also, while the high-speed straights are significant, there is also a number of technical slow-speed corners and several sections that put a high demand on braking stability and overall car balance.
That said, Mercedes has shown in the first two races that it can handle the slower corners just as well as their rivals - and if they can predict tyre performance and benefit from their f-duct, then China could finally be the place for the Silver Arrows to hit their target.