Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug admits that the team isn't currently in a position to fight for the top ten with its W02, despite Nico Rosberg setting the pace in testing at Catalunya yesterday.
The team goes into the new season keen to try and improve on a 2010 campaign that failed to match pre-season expectations, although the new car has shown only fleeting glimpses of speed during testing so far.
In particular, Rosberg has been hit by reliability issues that restricted his time on track at both Valencia and Jerez and Haug admits that the car needs to be improved before the season begins if Rosberg and Michael Schumacher are to fight towards the front of the field.
"We know that at the moment our car is not good enough for the top ten, but we had been hampered by having to cut holes because of temperature problems, and also Nico had been without KERS," he told Auto Motor und Sport
"Our plan is that with our new aerodynamics package we close much of the gap and have the car good enough for the podium."