Team boss Ross Brawn has said that it is too early to determine how good the new Mercedes is.
After an up-and-down first test for the new silver W04, former double world champion Mika Hakkinen admitted he suspects the car is “not exactly up to the speed I expected them to be”.
“I don’t see them competing too much this year,” the Finn is quoted by the Sun.
When asked a similar question by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, Mercedes team boss said his first impression of the performance of the W04 was “good”.
“We still have work to do on the degradation of the tyres. But the problem is that Jerez in the winter is not very representative,” added the Briton. “The numbers are promising. The downforce is as the wind tunnel predicted, as is the behaviour of the car.”
Asked if the team will have to wait until Barcelona to know exactly how the W04 is shaping up, Brawn answered: “Maybe later.
“It can also be very cool in Barcelona. We will probably only be able to say in Australia and Malaysia.”
Brawn also confirmed that – with top technical minds including Aldo Costa, Bob Bell and Geoff Willis all now working for Mercedes – the team already has a design team working exclusively on the 2014 car.
“Ferrari announced a while ago that they have two teams working on the 2013 and 2014 cars and that is what we have also done,” he said. “We have even gone so far that we have selected the most promising of several concept proposals. The transition (of development between the 2013 and 2014 projects) will be smooth, not from one day to the other.”
Meanwhile, with Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff shaking up Mercedes’ management amid rumours McLaren’s Paddy Lowe is being courted, Brawn insisted his top job is actually not in danger.
“I am settled,” he is quoted by the Mirror. “I have got no problems.”