Mercedes boss Ross Brawn admits his team needs a "pretty substantial" car redesign for next year, but insists his squad will not go radical just for the sake of it.
After a season that has failed to live up to early expectations, Brawn is aware of the step that Mercedes must make in 2013 if it is to do better than the pole position and race win it has delivered so far this campaign. But his time in Formula 1 has also taught him that electing to go aggressive with a car concept is no guarantee of success in the future.
Asked about the steps that Mercedes needs to make with its W04, Brawn said: "I think if you look at our performance today, there needs to be a pretty substantial change in order to improve the performance, but I am confident we can do it.
"Whether it comes from substantial architectural changes to the car or comes from more concerted effort on a conventional approach is too early to say. But history has shown that teams say they are going to go and do a radical car and it has fallen flat on its face.
"You cannot do a radical car just because you want to do a radical car. You have to do it for very good reasons, and very logical reasons."
Brawn believes that there is no single area of the W03 that needs addressing for next year, and Mercedes' efforts must be concentrated on improving every aspect of it.
"There are some things that we are doing with the car which are very interesting and quite exciting, so it will be a mix of that and just dogged hard work in improving the basics. You want to lower the centre of gravity, you want a stiffer/lighter car, you want more downforce, and you want less drag. If you can mix that with some interesting concepts and ideas, then that is the solution, but we have to make a good step for next year."
Brawn believes that Mercedes' lackluster second half to the campaign was mainly the result of the team coming late to the benefits of a Coanda-effect exhaust, which it ran for the first time in Singapore.
"I think we haven't kept pace with the aerodynamic developments that have gone on," he said. "We came to the Coanda exhaust late, and I think over the first half of the season people were still coming to terms with the tires, understanding them, and getting the most from the exhaust systems."