Feb.29 (GMM) Mercedes is not targeting a real tilt at the world championship until 2014.
Germany's DPA news agency quotes motor sport director Norbert Haug as saying that, after finishing fourth in the constructors' standings in 2010 and 2011, the leap to first place is not possible in a single step.
"You don't just jump from fourth to first, so we want to do the countdown: 4, 3, 2, 1," he is quoted as saying.
By that logic, Mercedes wants to break into the top three this year, challenge for the title in 2013, and emerge with the championship trophy in 2014. Indeed, when asked if Mercedes has a winning car, team boss Ross Brawn answered: "Not yet.
"We have made a big step forward in the past twelve months, but still have plenty to do."
You don't just jump from fourth to first
Haug, meanwhile, was coy when asked about Mercedes' reported 'W-duct' front wing innovation on its new W03 car.
"I've read about it in the newspaper," he told Die Welt newspaper, "and if we had such a part, we would test it first."
On Mercedes' broader ambitions, Haug added: "Our engine is said to be the best, our Kers is said to be the best, and now we want to have the best car too."