Mercedes has made 'unprecedented' step with engine

Mercedes tease car ahead of launch (1:00)

Mercedes teased images of their new car for the 2017 F1 season ahead of the launch on Thursday. (1:00)

Mercedes has made an "unprecedented" step with its already-dominant V6 turbo engine ahead of the 2017 season, according to customer team Force India.

Mercedes has been the class leader since the introduction of the hybrid power units in 2014 and has won three consecutive drivers' and constructors' championships. Sweeping regulation changes for 2017 have shifted focus back towards aerodynamics, but engine performance will still have a major say in determining the pecking order for this season.

With no restrictive engine token system this season many expect Renault, Ferrari and Honda to have a better chance of cutting the deficit seen in previous seasons, with Renault promising a gain of 0.3s when it launched the RS17 on Tuesday. However, Force India believes Mercedes may have moved the target forward once again.

When asked if Force India expected even more power from its Mercedes engine this year, technical chief Andy Green said: "Oh yes. That's what we've been promised.

"It's all part of the data input that goes into our simulation data. It's part of it. Mercedes HPP has done a fantastic job over the winter and made another unprecedented step and it's impressive."

Force India's VJM10 featured an airbox similar to the one featured on Mercedes' 2016 car, the W07. One stand-out feature on the 2017 challenger was its nose, featuring an end design different to anything seen on the models which have been released so far. Green says the idea is an evolution of the nose featured on the VJM10's predecessor, the VJM09.

"It's the same concept. It's a different looking nostril concept to what we had last year. Same philosophy. Opening up the car a little more, and yes you do [get a bit more air from it]."