Ross Brawn thinks his team will need to deliver a step forward in performance at the German Grand Prix to fight off the renewed challenge from Red Bull Racing, even though tire temperatures were a key factor in his team's defeat at Silverstone.
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber's 1-2 finish in the British Grand Prix re-ignited Red Bull Racing's World Championship hopes, as Brawn duo Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button struggled to get their tires operating properly. Although both teams believe that the Silverstone result did owe a lot to the lower than expected temperatures, Brawn's team chief still reckons that his outfit cannot just count on its current package to keep it ahead of the opposition.
"Red Bull have been pretty close all year, so I think we have got to find some performance because they made a good step at Silverstone," said Brawn about the implications of the recent result.
"With the confusion over the tires, we didn't run some new pieces we had because Friday [at Silverstone] was very difficult with the tire temperature. We couldn't determine how the new bits were working, so we decided to avoid confusion and went back to what we had in Turkey. So we've got those bits and we have some new improvements for the Nurburgring."
When asked if he felt his team really had a fight on its hands now, he said: "Yes, we always said there would be!"
Although determined to keep pushing with car development, Brawn is sure that the progress made by Red Bull at Silverstone was flattered by the tire temperature issues his team suffered.
"It has always been a strong car aerodynamically and at Silverstone in the slow- to medium-speed stuff, we didn't take the return we normally could because the tires were cold," he said. "So when we got to the complex there wasn't enough temperature in the tires for our normal advantages to come through in that area. But we probably need to see a bit more in normal conditions to really judge it – a race where we are comfortable we are performing how we should be.
"With all due respect we were racing Williams and Ferrari at Silverstone, and we don't normally do that. I don't think they made a step, I think we struggled a bit."