Norbert Haug says that Mercedes cannot use the new Pirelli tires as an excuse if it struggles to perform in 2011.
The German manufacturer's return to Formula 1 failed to yield a single victory last year, with many of the team's struggles put down to not getting the most out of the Bridgestone tires. That, and the problems encountered by Michael Schumacher during his comeback season, has led to much speculation over the winter surrounding how the team will deal with Pirelli rubber in 2011.
Mercedes made a low-key start to its testing campaign at Valencia last week, but Haug says that any struggles this year will not be blamed on the Italian rubber.
"The tires are the same for everybody and, at the end of the day, you need to live with it," Haug told AUTOSPORT. "You cannot blame the tires.
"We know about our shortcomings from 2010 and we want to do a better job. You can say, 'We cannot extract the best from the tires,' which we could say last year, but we could not blame Bridgestone for that.
"You can blame your car, you can blame your setup, you can blame everything that is built around the tires. But you cannot blame the tires."
Haug said it was too early to judge if the combination of a 2011 car and the Pirelli tires will give Michael Schumacher a better feeling than he had last year.
"Valencia is not a typical grand prix circuit, but I think Michael adapted very well," he said. "He needs more experience [of the 2011 car], but it's positive so far."