Mercedes GP boss Ross Brawn says his team is aiming to win the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, despite admitting that his outfit is not as prepared as it would like to be.
"Bahrain. Our objective is to start in Bahrain," he told the official Formula 1 website when asked when he expected to win races. "Once we see where everybody is, we'll see what sort of task that we have to carry out and how we need to react. Our target is always to win the next race. And the next race is Bahrain."
Brawn said, however, that Mercedes was still not 100 percent ready and that the winter had been difficult.
"We are not quite as well prepared as I would like to be, but we are getting there," he said. "It's been quite a difficult winter. I think as it was the first winter with 450 people, as opposed to 700, we've felt the loss in a few areas. But I'm reasonably happy with the car. It's showing good promise. We need to keep up our development speed, and then we should be OK."
The Briton admitted his team was somewhat off the pace of the leading squads, but claimed he was not too worried about it.
"I don't think that it is a second," he said of the gap to Ferrari and McLaren. "You have to look into the details of what has been done. I think that on our high fuel runs and our race runs, when we get the car right, we are competitive. It's just a little tricky to get the car right.
"Michael [Schumacher] hasn't carried out a proper low-fuel qualifying run, but Nico [Rosberg] had a go with lower fuel and it was definitely not bad. He ended the third test day with the best overall time. So I don't think that we are a second away. As I said before, we are not quite where we would like to be yet, but it's a moving target.
"That's the nature of our business. The team that is leading is always the target for everyone else, and there is only one team that can lead – all the rest have to play catch-up.
"We go through phases of being the leader, and phases of being the ones trying to catch up. At the moment, we've probably got more catching up to do, but I am not overly concerned."
Brawn confirmed the team will introduce a major upgrade to its car for the first race of the season.
He added: "We have an update for Bahrain. We decided not to bring it to Barcelona but leave it until the last moment. We've learned to assess and run pieces without testing them. It's crucial when you have seasons without testing, as you have to bring upgrades to races during the year. In Barcelona, we had little bits and pieces, but the major upgrade will be introduced in Bahrain."