Ross Brawn believes the new Mercedes will be competitive at the start of the Formula 1 season, but has admitted that the team does not enjoy the advantage it held at the start of 2009, as Brawn GP.
Seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher hinted yesterday that the W01 was more competitive than he initially thought. Team boss Brawn agrees the car is good, but believes it is currently not the best.
Talking after most of the top teams had recorded laps within a few tenths of each other on the last day of testing in Barcelona, Brawn said: "I think we're close enough to have a go, but we're not enjoying the situation we had last year. I don't think anybody is. At the beginning of testing it looked like Ferrari were dominant, and now you'd have to say that the teams are all pretty close based on this test."
Brawn added that he hoped improvements prior to the season opener in Bahrain will allow Schumacher and teammate Nico Rosberg to challenge near the front.
"We're just a little bit off where we want to be, but I think we're close enough to be within reach," he said. "We have a new package for Bahrain and I hope that's going to make the difference."