Ross Brawn believes Mercedes GP must move up the Formula 1 grid this year, following two consecutive seasons where it finished fourth in the standings.
After officially unveiling its new W03 at Barcelona on Tuesday, Brawn said that the squad has the ingredients it needs to deliver improved form on track – which means regularly fighting for podium finishes.
"We have to go forward," he said. "None of us are happy with a recurring fourth place. That is not why any of us are here. We have to go forward, but I am quietly confident with the strength we have got, the resources we have got and the team we are building that we can do that."
Brawn says that the one factor that has encouraged him about Mercedes GP's prospects was the bolstering of the technical department that occurred last year.
"I think the important thing for me is the strengthening we have done of the team," he said. "We have much more depth in the engineering team than we had 12 months ago, especially with Bob Bell joining, and Geoff Willis and Aldo Costa.
"We had a great, very bright team of engineers, but adding that maturity and that strength gives me the confidence that we are going to react more strongly to anything we face. I don't know where we are going to be with the car, I feel reasonably comfortable with what we have done but wherever we are, I am sure we are going to have a much stronger response than we ever had in the past."
When asked if the team was now mature enough to go for top-three finishes regularly, Brawn said: "We are definitely ready to go for podiums. Any team that has not won the World Championship has to look at how it can improve, how it can strengthen and how it can achieve better results. Even if you win the World Championship you still look at that. And if you are not winning races and not winning a championship, then perhaps you have to look at even stronger improvements. But the key is not to ruin what you already have to build something stronger, and that is what we have been very focused on.
"We have some great people in the team already and I was comfortable in adding Geoff, Aldo and Bob, because they are people I know would fit in with the existing structure, but also enhance the structure and make it stronger."
Brawn says he remains comfortable with the team's decision to skip the opening preseason test at Jerez, even though it means the squad has less time to prepare its W03 for the first race.
"For us at least, [Jerez] was quite important, because we wanted to correlate the new car, the old car, the new tires and the old tires and understand where we are," he said. "With the old car being so reliable, it meant we did a solid three days of testing, and we did almost as much mileage in that as many people did in four. That meant we just did lots of useful tire testing, so we could get that out the way and now focus on new things on the new car."
The W03 features the now common stepped nose, and Brawn says the outfit has learned lessons from last year in its design, when some radical concepts on the W02 did not deliver the steps the team had hoped for.
"Notwithstanding the distinctive nose design, which is certainly an acquired taste, the F1 W03 is an elegant interpretation of the current regulations, and a clear step forward over its predecessor in terms of detail design and sophistication," he said. "Last year, we produced a very bold car and, although its more radical elements didn't always deliver the results we had hoped for, the experience we gained has been invaluable to the design of the 2012 car."