Mercedes insists its 2014 car is "on par" with the chassis being fielded by reigning world champions Red Bull this season.
The more common perception in the F1 paddock so far this year is that while the silver W05 is a tidy single seater, its clear dominance is being fuelled mainly by its vastly superior turbo V6 'power unit'.
Red Bull, meanwhile, is apparently only managing to stay relatively competitive amid engine supplier Renault's problems due to the once again field-leading car design efforts of Adrian Newey.
But Aldo Costa, the Mercedes car designer, insisted to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that his W05 is "about on par with Red Bull".
"There are certain corners, especially the fast ones, where Red Bull is better than us," he acknowledged, "but in other places it is us with the edge.
"According to our measurements," the former Ferrari technical director added, "Ferrari is behind us."
Costa also hit back at suggestions F1's new engine rules have made the sport too slow.
Actually, he said it is "quite simple" to calculate precisely why laptimes are slower in 2014, explaining that the engines are in fact compensating for most of the losses.
"The cars are 50kg heavier (than in 2013)," he started. "This alone costs 1.5 seconds. The downforce was reduced, which is another half a second," said Costa.
"Add to that the harder tyre, then without these factors we would be faster (than in 2013)," said the Italian.
Vandoorne to replace Button 'possible' - Dennis
Apr.14 (GMM) McLaren could oust Jenson Button at the end of 2014 and replace him with the team's next young development driver talent.
That is the admission of returned McLaren supremo Ron Dennis, who told F1's official website that it was mainly his decision to axe Sergio Perez after a single season and replace him with in-house rookie Kevin Magnussen.
Dane Magnussen, 21, has subsequently been hailed by Dennis as having "all the ingredients necessary" to follow in Button's footsteps and win a title.
"The decision to take Kevin (in 2014) was mine," said Dennis.
"I took the decision because I felt that we needed to see if he could meet the expectations of our engineers, and so far he has done a great job.
"And also Stoffel Vandoorne did a great job last weekend in Bahrain," Dennis added, "so I think he will be highly desirable by the end of the season."
Belgian Vandoorne, who is actually a year older than Magnussen, has this year been placed by McLaren in GP2, where at the Bahrain season opener he won a race.
Vandoorne is driving for ART, after Nicolas Todt's GP2 team entered an agreement to work not only with McLaren but also the team's 2015 engine supplier Honda.
At the same time, Button's contract is up for renewal.
The 34-year-old driver said in Bahrain: "I have no worries that a guy in his thirties is as good as a guy in his twenties in a formula one car."
Nonetheless, Dennis admitted it is "possible" McLaren's 2015 lineup could see Magnussen alongside Vandoorne.
"Anything is possible," he said, "but Jenson is doing a great job. He is quick and he is dedicated so there is no reason not to stay with Jenson from any perspective.
"But we still have a whole season to go."
Red Bull taking 'new evidence' to Monday appeal
Red Bull claims to have "a very strong case" as the world champions try on Monday to overturn Daniel Ricciardo's Melbourne disqualification.
Initially, many believed the team would surely fail to convince the FIA's international court of appeal to quash the stewards' ruling in Paris.
That is because Red Bull admittedly ignored the readings of the mandatory fuel flow sensor, claiming the devices supplied by a British company called Gill are inaccurate.
Team boss Christian Horner now says: "As more races have progressed, issues have become more evident, new evidence has come to light and new understandings have come to light.
"We believe we have a very strong case," British broadcasters the BBC and Sky separately quote him as saying.
Following a disastrous winter pre-season for Red Bull and its engine supplier Renault, the team is only fourth in the constructors' championship after three races.
Defending Red Bull's push to recover Ricciardo's second place finish, Horner insisted: "Those points are vital, every point is vital."
The FIA says it intends to publish the results of Monday's appeal "as soon as possible" after the hearing is complete.
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