Toto Wolff has conceded that Mercedes made the wrong design decisions with the "not good enough" W14 car, and promised a 'switch of focus'.
Mercedes appear to have once again started on the backfoot after qualifying sixth and seventh for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
Despite finding big performance gains between Friday practice and Saturday qualifying, the team were still several tenths off the pace of Max Verstappen's Red Bull.
Speaking after the qualifying session, Wolff conceded that he has no faith in the car becoming competitive.
"I don't think there's this package is going to be competitive eventually," Wolff told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"We gave it our best go over the winter, and now we just need to all regroup, sit down with the engineers, who are totally not dogmatic about anything, there are no holy cows, and decide what is the development direction that we want to pursue in order to be competitive to win races.
"It's not only like last year that you're scoring many podiums and eventually you get there. I'm sure we can win races this season. But it's really the mid-and-long-term that we need to look at and which decisions we need to take.
"The moment comes when the stopwatch comes out, and that showed us that it's simply not good enough. We never got enough downforce."
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Wolff added that Mercedes would look into a variety of options in order to assess the correct development path, including a move away from their 'zero sidepod' approach.
“We have all the ingredients to be successful, with people and an infrastructure that won eight consecutive championships in a row and we got it wrong last year,” added Wolff.
“We thought we could fix it by sticking to this concept of car and it didn’t work out. So, we just need to switch our focus onto what we believe can be the right direction, what is it that we are missing, and therefore those data points this weekend are very important.
“We’ve seen the GPS [data] where we are lacking performance and we see where we are good, so we just need to sort out what that is.
“Whether this is sticking wider sidepods on the car, or the really subtle things that bring performance, this is a different question. But definitely, we will embark on untreaded paths.”