Michael Schumacher admits he is 'concerned' by the pace shown by Mercedes during pre-season testing ahead of the new F1 season, despite an improved showing from the new W02 at Jerez this week.
The German posted the quickest time on the second day of running on Friday in what has been a better week for the team after a difficult session at Valencia, where the car struggled to match the pace of the front-runners.
However, Schumacher admits that there is concern within the team about the pace of the car despite the fact he concedes that teams will only truly know where they stand when they arrive in Bahrain for the opening round of the year.
"Yes, we are slightly concerned but then on the other hand we know where we will and want to go to," he told the BBC
. "The first race will tell us truly what is the situation."
Going into the new season, Mercedes has already said it is keen to try and fight closer towards the front of the field after a 2010 campaign which failed to deliver, but Schumacher insisted it would be difficult to challenge for the title.
"For the team it is very important to climb the ladder and have more success than last year,” he said. "We are Mercedes and we have a very clear target. It is going to be difficult to meet this target straight away this year particularly after last year's experience. But it is a programme and a vision for more than just the short term.
"We have a character of car that we built up, but we have a new character of tyres and how much they will be in harmony is difficult to say at this moment in time. It seemed less important last year and is more important this year."