Lewis Hamilton knew Mercedes were in trouble with their 2023 Formula 1 car the first time he even saw the W14.
Mercedes elected to stick with their zero sidepod approach for the W14, doubling-down on the concept after a poor 2022.
However, the team now admit that was a mistake with a concept change coming for Imola - and Hamilton has revealed that before he even drove the car at a Silverstone shakedown that it had deep, underlying problems.
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"We probably won't hit the ground straightaway at the front, but we should be there or thereabouts," he explained to media, including RacingNews365, in Jeddah when asked about the mood of the team going to the season-opener in Bahrain.
"It's a bit of a shock when that wasn't obviously the case. I knew that we weren't in the right place. When I saw the car for the first time, it looked still so much different to those from our competitors.
"It's always nerve-racking in that moment, but it looks nice, but I honestly don't care what colour it is as long as it is quick, and hopefully we will mould it into a winning car at some stage.
"You don't all of a sudden lose the ability to build great cars, it's just we're not where we need to be and where we want to be and we've just got to keep working on it.
"I still have 100% belief in this team. It is my family and I've been here a long time, so I don't plan on going anywhere else, but we all need a kick, we all need to get on.
"As I said, hopefully at some point during the year, we're hopeful we might be able to close the gap, but at that point, it'll probably be too late in terms of fighting for a championship but we can still turn some heads hopefully."
Join RacingNews365.com journalists Michael Butterworth and Dieter Rencken as they discuss all the key talking points ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.