Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff described its DTM qualifying performances as "unsatisfactory" after another tough weekend for the manufacturer at Spielberg.
HWA driver Robert Wickens was Mercedes' highest-placed qualifier in Austria in seventh, the Canadian's performance the best for the manufacturer in a dry Saturday session so far this year. But with Audis and BMWs having taken pole position for each of the three races that have taken place so far, Wolff said that a solution must be found quickly.
"We're in a dip at the moment and the qualifying result was not satisfactory," Wolff said. "We need to look internally to work out what we have done well and what we could do better. We are racers and fighters and we will be back."
The race pace of the C-coupe is not in doubt, HWA driver Gary Paffett having been among the fastest drivers over long runs on standard tires at Both Hockenheim and Brands Hatch and Christian Vietoris proving exceptionally fast on the softer options.
Christian Vietoris qualified 16th at Spielberg, but climbed to seventh in the race. He is now the best-placed Mercedes driver in the championship in fifth. He agreed that in order to maximize the long-run speed of the car, its drivers must be able to qualify higher.
"We don't need to speak about the car because it was fast here last year and it's still fast in the races," he said. "What we need is to find a better compromise from Saturday into Sunday, because qualifying pace is our biggest problem. I'm sure that if we can improve the Saturday pace, we can be fighting for podiums."