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Ross Brawn admits his Mercedes team are struggling for pace with the start of the new season fast approaching.

It begins in Melbourne on 27 March, with just five more days of testing in Spain (8-12 March) to come beforehand.

“We’re about a second off where we want to be, which is at the front, so we’ve got to find a second in the upgrade which we think we can do,” Brawn said.

“But you never know what others will do – we’ve set out our plan we’ll know at Melbourne if it’s right.”

Speaking on BBC 5 live, Brawn admitted that having enjoyed success in his days with Benetton, Ferrari and Brawn GP, life under the Mercedes banner was proving more challenging.

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/player/emp/1_1_3_0_0_426652_426614/426652_426614_1_emp.swf His drivers – seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg – failed to muster a win between them in 2010.

But Brawn, who recently sold his remaining shareholding in the team to parent company Mercedes, said that far from diminishing his enthusiasm, the team’s problems just made him more hungry for renewed success.

“It’s often these periods when you get most motivation – when you’ve been there, you don’t want to let it go, that’s what drives you the hardest, when you’ve got challenges to face,” he said.

“We’re all intensely competitive and we get more motivated when we’re not achieving what we want to achieve.

“We’re sticking to our winter plan and we’ll know when we get to Melbourne.”

F1 legend Schumacher, 42, admitted last month that it would be “difficult” for Mercedes to win races at the start of the season.

“Yes, we are slightly concerned, but then on the other hand we know where we want to go to,” he told BBC Sport.