Mercedes will roll out its final upgrade of the season at the upcoming United States Grand Prix ahead of what it hopes will be a renewed F1 title bid in 2023.
It has been a difficult campaign for the Silver Arrows which is poised to lose its eight-year grip on the constructors' title at the Circuit of the Americas as Red Bull stands on the brink of winning its first team championship since 2013.
Mercedes also faces the ignominy of failing to win a race this season, and for the first time in 12 years, unless it can find a route to doing so in the final four grands prix.
For the Brackley-based team, whatever transpires in Austin, Mexico City, São Paulo and Abu Dhabi, the steps taken now are all towards next season after a rollercoaster ride with the W13, the performance of which has varied from one track to the next.
“It's our final step of aero development and that will hopefully give us a bit more performance," said trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin.
"But importantly with every step, we are learning more and more and that learning we can carry into next year, so that's part of it.
"Also, there are a few bits where we have taken some weight out of components that will hopefully get the car closer to the weight limit. It's very difficult for us to predict where we are going to be.
"In Singapore, Lewis was awfully close to pole position, yet in Suzuka, both cars had a big gap to the front.
"Now, our race pace has been reasonably strong, so, if we can make a step, hopefully, we can get into the fight with the Ferraris and the Red Bulls.
"But qualifying for us is the really difficult one to predict at the moment. As I said, a lot of it is about learning and we are certainly going to give it our best shot in the final four races.”
Mercedes facing another "tricky" Austin outing?
Shovlin concedes the nature of COTA, particularly with its bumpy surface although - it has again been resurfaced - makes it difficult to predict how the W13 will perform.
Shovlin added: "It's a tricky circuit and it was a tricky circuit for us last year.
"It was very bumpy, there was a lot of overheating as well from the tyres and we weren’t performing as well as Red Bull were on the softer tyres.
"They have done some resurfacing so hopefully those issues with the bumps are a bit less.
"But what's very hard this year is to really know where you are going to be on the circuit before you've gone there. A lot of it is about learning.
"We will not really be making any predictions about where we are going to perform.
"We just need to go there on Friday, see what kind of issues we have and then see whether we can solve those with set-up.”