Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn says that the outfit must aim to win in Bahrain, despite not having the fastest car in pre-season testing.
In an interview with the official Formula 1 website, Brawn stated that he expects the Brackley-based team to fight for wins from the onset of the 2010 season.
“Bahrain. Our objective is to start in Bahrain,” he said.
“Once we see where everybody is, we’ll see what sort of task that we have to carry out and how we need to react. Our target is always to win the next race. And the next race is Bahrain.”
Brawn admitted that Mercedes are not as prepared for the season as they had hoped to be, but is still confident that the team can make up the difference in the upcoming months.
“We are not quite as well prepared as I would like to be, but we are getting there,” Brawn continued. “It’s been quite a difficult winter. I think as it was the first winter with 450 people, as opposed to 700, we’ve felt the loss in a few areas.
“But I’m reasonably happy with the car. It’s showing good promise. We need to keep up our development speed, and then we should be okay.”
The former Benetton and Ferrari man also moved to rubbish suggestions that his team could be as much as a second behind the likes of the front runners, stating that the German manufacturer did not reveal its true pace over winter testing.
“I don’t think that it is a second,” he said. “You have to look into the details of what has been done. I think that on our high fuel runs and our race runs, when we get the car right, we are competitive. It’s just a little tricky to get the car right.
“Michael hasn’t carried out a proper low-fuel qualifying run, but Nico (Rosberg) had a go with lower fuel and it was definitely not bad. He ended the third test day with the best overall time. So I don’t think that we are a second away. As I said before, we are not quite where we would like to be yet, but it’s a moving target.
“That’s the nature of our business. The team that is leading is always the target for everyone else, and there is only one team that can lead – all the rest have to play catch up.
“We go through phases of being the leader, and phases of being the ones trying to catch up. At the moment we’ve probably got more catching up to do, but I am not overly concerned.”
Mercedes has confirmed that it will bring a new update to the car ahead of Bahrain, with some in the press speculating on a controversial “Super-diffuser”.
“We have an update for Bahrain. We decided not to bring it to Barcelona but leave it until the last moment. We’ve learnt to assess and run pieces without testing them. It’s crucial when you have seasons without testing, as you have to bring upgrades to races during the year.
“In Barcelona we had little bits and pieces, but the major upgrade will be introduced in Bahrain.