Team principal Ross Brawn has admitted that Mercedes focused too much in trying to make its double DRS work during the 2012 F1 season after slipping away from the front of the field.
The team looked set to challenge towards the head of the pack this year when Nico Rosberg took a dominant win in China, but instead the Brackley-based outfit has dropped back from Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus in the standings.
Indeed, the team now heads into the United States Grand Prix this weekend – and the Brazilian GP that follows – just twelve points ahead of Sauber in the fight for fifth place, with Rosberg and Michael Schumacher having failed to score any points in the last four races.
Speaking ahead of the American race, Brawn admitted that the focus on making the double DRS in place on the W03 work this season had taken attention away from work in other areas and had held the team back on track.
"One of the conclusions we have reached is that while the double DRS was valid, it held us back in other areas,” he told Autosprint
. "Today there is a lot of, let's say, smart technology around the front wings. But we had our system, and our wings were designed around this concept.
"When it became clear from what others were doing what the potential was of another philosophy, maybe we should have taken a step back.
"As you say, there are some 'structural' considerations that we have seen this year, but this will disappear next year — or should disappear."