Former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde has warned that Mercedes' porpoising problems could rumble on for "months", all while Ferrari and Red Bull build a lead in the World Championship.
Mercedes are expecting no magic fix for their hurting car for the Australian GP weekend after lapping roughly an entire second slower than their rivals in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
That has left George Russell and Lewis Hamilton fighting for as many points as they can during the early races, while the likes of Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc battle it out for race wins.
The Brackley-based team are yet to put a timeframe on when they may finally close the gap on those ahead of them, but the problem could take months to cure, van der Garde is fearing.
Van der Garde says Mercedes power problems were there to see during testing
It has been more than just porpoising blamed for Mercedes' lack of pace, however, with all Mercedes-powered teams seemingly down on pace compared to their direct rivals.
Of the eight drivers armed with Mercedes engines this season, only Hamilton, Russell and Lando Norris have been able to score a point after the opening two rounds.
"You could already see that in the tests. Everyone said that the McLaren car looked good, but I didn't think so on the track," van der Garde has told RacingNews365.com.
"McLaren and Aston Martin are not doing well, but it is funny to see that they have a Mercedes engine. They are also not doing well, Mercedes themselves. They still have some work to do there."
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"That could take months. It's going to be step by step."
Russell has batted away suggestions that Mercedes are down on power, claiming that their engine has the performance to match even Ferrari's when turned up during qualifying.
Instead, it is porpoising that is being blamed for the team's lack of early-season performance, but that is no easy fix.
"That could take months. It's going [to be] step by step, with minor updates. The gap is big, so I think it will take a while before it's closed," explained van der Garde.
"Mercedes has a very different philosophy to Red Bull and Ferrari, and they have to start working with that now.
"The team has plenty of things to solve, but it is a team that can fight back and make sure that they get it right."
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