Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn insists that the Brackley-based outfit has to move forwards during the 2012 season after the launch of the new W03 at Catalunya.
The team revealed the new car yesterday [Tuesday] ahead of the second pre-season test of the year in Spain, with Michael Schumacher then taking to the track for the first public test of the car.
Mercedes hope that the W03 will be the car that allows it to the fight to Red Bull, McLaren
this season and Brawn insisted that another season of settling for fourth wouldn't be good enough.
“We must move forward,” he said. “We've had two seasons of being fourth in the world championship and that is not good enough, so we must move forward. Whether we achieve our ultimate ambition this year or next year or whenever, we must keep moving forward, keep the team strengthening.
“My dream would be for Michael to win again and for Nico to win his first race, so that's our ambition, our objective. A championship is made up of many things, and we will take the opportunity if we have a chance to winning the championship, but you never know how strong the opposition are, you never know how good a job you've done.
“We'll know a little more from this testing over the next few weeks but the thing that is very encouraging for me is the strength we've got in the team now and the ability of the team to react. We have massive support from the board - we could not ask for more support for what we want to achieve - and we are now building team that I feel can achieve those aims and objectives.”
One major challenge faced by Mercedes this season has been to deal with the change in exhaust regulations for the season ahead, and Brawn admitted that anyone who could match the pace of their 2011 car with the new rules in place was doing a good job.
“We're still getting a bit of performance from the exhaust on the new car, but nothing like what was being achieved with last year's regulations and last year's concept,” he said, “but once you learn something, discover it, you can't uninvent it. All the engineers and designers in F1 have been looking at how they can retain some of the performance, although its far far reduced to what we had last year and I think most people, in designing their new cars, will be happy to achieve the overall performance they achieved last year.
“We were testing in Jerez with the 2011 car and it looked to be the most consistent and fastest car there and all the 2012 cars were behind that, so I think that anyone doing their new 2012 car that is able to get close to what they achieved in 2011 is doing a good job.”