Michael Schumacher has conceded that Mercedes GP are not currently in race-winning trim after a second day testing at Barcelona saw the German only manage seventh fastest.
Although the team are yet to run the lowest fuel settings for their W01, Schumacher appeared to rule out the possibility of winning the first race in Bahrain.
“At the moment we are not perfectly in the position we would like, probably to be competitive enough to win the first races,” Schumacher told reporters.
“But we are working hard, the season is long, and the main issue is not to be too far off. This is very difficult to judge right now, the real picture.”
He praised the team’s spirit, however, and said there was a good atmosphere within the team.
“We are working very well together, it has taken very little time to get on with everybody,” he said. “They are very good guys, it’s very professional and a good atmosphere.
“But we have to prove ourselves on the track. Testing is one thing, racing is another thing.”