Nico Rosberg has played down Mercedes' chances of competing with Formula One's frontrunners right from the start of next season.

5652 - Rosberg staying realistic about 2011 chances

Mercedes finished fourth in the constructors' title in 2010, but failed to notch up any wins and finished the season well off the pace of Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren. However, the team was able to focus more of its resources on the development of next year's car and has been tipped for success in 2011.

"The gap we are closing is of course fairy big," Rosberg told the SID news agency. "It will take time and I don't know how much. Perhaps at the beginning of next season we will be close. We will have to see, it is difficult to predict. What is definite is that we will look better than this year."

Rosberg beat his illustrious team-mate Michael Schumacher by 70 points in 2010, but said he was still disappointed by his lack of wins.

"On the one hand, I'm obviously happy that I was able to beat Michael," he added. "That was very important because you compare yourself with who is in the other car. On the other hand, I had hoped for better results, but they will come - hopefully in the near future."