Despite a poor finish to their campaign, Nico Rosberg insists Mercedes have taken massive strides in 2012 and that next year will be even better.
While the German surprised bookmakers like Paddy Power and others when he achieved his maiden grand prix victory in China in April, the tail-end of the season saw him unable to reach those dizzying heights, slumping to a six-race pointless run as Mercedes fell down the pecking order.
But much like his team boss Ross Brawn, Rosberg doesn't believe the final stretch was indicative of Mercedes' progress, and is instead optimistic about what 2013 holds.
"The improvement is massive," Rosberg said when asked about Mercedes' form in 2012.
"Unfortunately we haven't seen it much in the second half of the season, but in the first part of the season we had the fastest car in two races - China and Monaco.
"That's the improvement. We're making progress; we're getting better.
"If you would walk through the factory today, you would see a massive improvement compared to three years ago.
"The amount of competence that has joined us, the way everything is joined together, it's really making huge steps and that's why next year I'm sure will be better for us again."
Key for Rosberg is the lessons learned from the 2012 campaign even as their results tailed off, lessons that he believes will stand them in very good stead, and which will make them a good option for those fans who like to bet on F1, next year when the 27-year-old will partner ex-McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton.
"Unfortunately this process has taken a bit longer than we were hoping," he said.
"We were hoping to already be there really fighting for the championship this year and that didn't quite happen, by quite some margin unfortunately.
"But we learned a lot of lessons this year and that's why I'm very confident that we're going to start well next year and then develop through the season."
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