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'Mercedes teams clearly fastest'

Wednesday 05-March-2014 10:21

Vijay Mallya believes the Mercedes-powered teams are clearly the pace-setters heading into the first Grand Prix of the season.

During the 12 days of winter testing, the Formula One teams with Mercedes power units - the Mercedes factory team, McLaren, Williams and Force India - topped the time sheets in all but one of the days.

"I would say that my decision to go with Mercedes early last year and to sign a long-term agreement with them was the right decision - the results speak for themselves," the Force India Team Principal told F1.com.

"The Mercedes-powered teams are clearly ahead and are currently more reliable than the others."

Mallya added that the Mercedes-powered outfits have a great opportunity to lay down a marker during the first couple of races of the season.

"The first four races present a great opportunity, particularly for the Mercedes-powered teams, because so far they are showing that they are ahead of the rest," the 58-year-old Indian added.

"But in the end it will be all about - here comes the word again - reliability. You can do many fancy things during testing, but a race is a race and the conditions of a race are very different.

"By the time we get back to Europe many teams will have sorted out their issues and some big upgrades will be coming from Barcelona onwards.

"So yes, my guess is that these four races will be a bit of a luxury for the Mercedes-powered teams - and once we get to Europe, that is where some serious racing will start."

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