Mercedes GP boss Ross Brawn says the World Championship still remains within striking distance of the German squad despite its slow start to the season.
The reigning champion team is 107 points behind championship leader McLaren following the first eight races of the season, having scored two third places as its best result yet. But despite its points situation, Brawn is adamant that the titles are still within reach, and that starting winning races is just a matter of sorting small issues.
"With the new points system this year, we are still within striking distance of the championship leaders and we will continue with our efforts to become more competitive," said Brawn. "We have a number of the basics right and the difference between winning and losing is small. We need to close that difference."
Brawn admitted he was also encouraged by the race pace of his drivers in the previous race in Canada, and reckons the team paid for a poor qualifying showing.
"Our car was well suited to the circuit in Montreal and our pace during the race was encouraging," said Brawn. "Unfortunately, qualifying was a disappointment and we placed well below our potential, which compromised our weekend.
"Nico was clearly one of the quickest cars during the race and his climb from the midfield to sixth place was a very impressive performance. Michael showed good promise but damage to his front wing on the first lap and then the puncture put him out of the running and we were too ambitious with the use of the option tires which left him struggling for pace.
"Looking ahead to Valencia, the circuit is similar to Montreal in many ways with long straights connected by slow corners which should suit our car. We have an upgrade package which will be another good step in our development toward competing at the front of the field."