Mercedes GP team boss Ross Brawn believes the root of his squad's 2010 disappointments is that it took too conservative an approach to its car design, but insists it was the only choice it had, given the pressure of the 2009 title fight.
After dominating much of last season in its Brawn GP guise and winning both championships, the now-Mercedes-owned squad has failed to win at all this year, and abandoned development on its 2010 car some time ago to focus on 2011.
Although the 2009 machine had been developed with the full resources of former owner Honda, the team had to dramatically cut costs and staff numbers following the Japanese company's exit, and Brawn reckons there is no way the slimmed-down squad could have coped with sustaining a 2009 title challenge while producing a cutting-edge 2010 car.
"At the beginning of 2009 we had to reduce staff, and this obviously had an impact on many sectors," Brawn told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport. "When the time came to design the 2010 car, our design office wasn't well organized. What came out of it is a scarcely ambitious car – in fact, too conservative.
"But we couldn't do otherwise, because resources were not sufficient. For 2011 we have a group of young engineers who want to show their worth, so we are ambitious again."
He is confident that Mercedes will not be similarly hampered in future years, as the ongoing cost-cutting process under the Resource Restriction Agreement will see other teams forced to cut back as well.
"With the restrictions we had, in late 2009 we couldn't chase the title and build a competitive car for this year at the same time," said Brawn. "But from 2011, because of the cost reduction process, this will become the norm for everyone – even though I don't believe that teams like Ferrari and McLaren will have to compromise too much."
Brawn also reiterated that he has no intention of leaving Mercedes despite this year's struggles, and intends to stay with the project until he retires. When asked if he was definitely on board for 2011, he replied: "Yes – and I think Mercedes will be my last team."