Mercedes GP team principal Ross Brawn is optimistic that a new exhaust development that was raced for the first time at the British Grand Prix should help lift form over the second half of the season.
The W02s ran at Silverstone last weekend with a new longer exhaust design – similar to the concepts that Red Bull Racing, McLaren and Ferrari have been using – aimed to helping improve the efficiency of its blown diffuser.
Although the results of that development appeared to be inconclusive at the British Grand Prix, with Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher struggling in qualifying and the early stages of the race, their form in the second half of the race was encouraging.
But as well as the promise delivered by the race pace of the cars, Brawn feels that the new exhaust configuration offers much more development potential in the forthcoming races.
"We are on a new path with the exhaust system," he explained. "With the system we had before, we had explored most of the potential of it, and we were finding it very difficult to make progress.
"The new exhaust system is quite encouraging because we are seeing greater levels of potential with the new system than we saw with the old system.
"Our challenge – and we haven't proven it yet – is to get over the reliability issues, and the installation issues. It wasn't helped with the changes in engine mapping which have come along right in the middle of our project, but it is generally positive."
Brawn feels that as well as the straight benefit from the improved diffuser performance, there will be other upgrades that can further benefit lap time.
"We can see potential in the system, but more important we have things coming which will take more and more advantage of this technology and this approach.
"We are reasonably optimistic. I am optimistic we will find some good advances with the system."
Mercedes GP moved up to fourth place in the Constructors' Championship at the British Grand Prix thanks to Rosberg's sixth- and Schumacher's ninth-place finishes.