Ross Brawn has admitted that Mercedes needs to improve its consistency after failing to build on its first victory in the Chinese Grand Prix earlier this year.
Nico Rosberg's victory in Shanghai came after a tough start to the year had seen the team score just one point from the first two races, but rather than being the catalyst for further success, Mercedes has since gone on to take just more podium finishes – with Rosberg second in Monaco and Michael Schumacher third in Valencia.
Speaking at Spa ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend, Brawn admitted that – while he was pleased to have taken a maiden win – there was plenty of still learn as the team seeks to find more consistency.
“I think our season has in many ways improved over previous years,” he said. “We've won our first race this year. Michael was fastest in qualifying in Monaco. So, we've had some highlights but we've not been consistent enough. And I think the consistency has been amplified by the closeness of the cars.
“There's been a few tenths between cars and often a few tenths have been extremely significant. So, I think we're working towards better consistency, both of the car and how we use the tyres. Tyres have been a very interesting challenge this year: the same challenge for all the teams. But getting the most out of the tyres is where we want to improve.
“As everyone does, we're fighting hard to make progress with the team. So we strengthened the team considerably last year and the first half of this year and I think we're going to see the benefits of those changes start to feed through into a stronger, competitive position for the future.”
Brawn added that understanding the tyres more remained a major challenge for the team.
“We've been struggling a little bit to find the right balance that also gives the consistency we need with the tyres so we can get consistency with the tyres, but then we don't have the quickest balance, the quickest car,” he said. “When we have perhaps the balance we need for the quickest time then we perhaps struggle with the consistency of the tyres so it's just finding that... yeah, optimising the car around that has been difficult. We've got ideas, we've got our theories and views on what we need to do with the car and some of those will be implemented this year in order to understand what we need to do for next year's car. But it is this question of finding consistency of balance against tyre consistency and tyre durability.
“I think at the beginning of the year we had a very quick car but we were damaging the tyres too much. As we've improved our usage of the tyres, we haven't necessarily taken the performance forward and that is what we're focusing on now. But these challenges, these aspects of the car are what all of us here faced, it's what we're fighting all the time. Sometimes your car becomes a reference point; with no changes, after a period, it's not quick enough, because other people have improved, so it's a constantly moving target.”