Mercedes Chief Technical Officer Mike Elliott has conceded that the team will have to wait until track action begins to know if they will be competitive at the Miami Grand Prix.
The German manufacturer have failed to make steps forward this season despite optimism being created through a one-two finish at last year's Sao Paulo Grand Prix, with Ferrari and Aston Martin ahead at the 2023 Bahrain season-opener.
But after jumping in front of Ferrari on pace in Saudi Arabia, Lewis Hamilton became Max Verstappen's closest challenger in Australia and George Russell – who qualified on the front row of the grid – had led before dropping out of the race.
A step back was taken in Azerbaijan, however, with Ferrari and Aston Martin back ahead as Mercedes eagerly await their major upgrade package aimed at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
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Hard for Mercedes to predict Miami performance
Ahead of F1's return to Miami for the second race around the Hard Rock Stadium, Elliott explained that whilst the event should suit the W14 on paper, the resurfacing work completed at the venue poses more questions than answers.
"When you look at our cars they are actually fairly close in terms of performance. In Melbourne, we looked probably a bit quicker than Aston Martin and Ferrari," said Elliott.
"In Baku, we looked a little bit slower. In terms of the circuit layout, I'd say Miami is a bit more like Melbourne.
"You might think, 'Okay, that’s good for us' and it is good for us. But like Baku, Miami has also been resurfaced. So, until we get there, until we run on the track, it is going to be hard to know what exactly we are going to find.
"It is going to be hard to know how we are going to optimise the set-up and what level of performance we are going to have relative to our competition. So, in some ways, we will just have to wait and see."
Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.