Ross Brawn says he is encouraged by the first test for the new Mercedes W02, despite the team suffering from a number of 'teething problems' during the Valencia test.
Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher have so far failed to match the pace of the front-runners during the Spanish session, although teams up and down the paddock are at pains to point out that times in the opening test of the year usually count for little when the racing gets underway.
With that in mind, Brawn said he was encouraged by the early performance of the car as the opening test of the year draws towards a close.
"We're not right at the sharp end but there's a long way to go to the first race,” he told BBC Sport
. "Red Bull look pretty strong, we have not seen the new McLaren yet but I'm encouraged by what I've seen so far.
"I know what's in the pipeline, so I can do the calculations of what we are going to be able to do at the first race. I know what we can do with the package we have; we're just starting to scratch the surface of getting a set-up.
"But no one's ever certain. I don't know what fuel loads people are running. If someone's out there running 120kgs and we're running 50 or 60 then we've got a problem, but I don't think that's the case."
Brawn also took time to explain some of the problems faced by the team, some of which have revolved around the KERS system, which returns to the sport for 2011.
"We've had some teething problems. We're tackling Kers for the team for the first time, although the engine people have got a lot of experience of it. We've had a bit of fragmented start but it's settling down and we're starting to understand the car and it looks OK. We have identified [the problems] early and we're kind of patched up at the moment.
"We'll have to put some proper fixes in place. We've got some areas that were getting a little bit too hot and one or two other things that we need to address."