Formula 1 - Mercedes: Last races will define 2013

Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn admits that his squad's whole 2013 Formula 1 season is set to be judged on what it achieves in the final two grands prix.

Formula 1 - Staff loss a threat to Red Bull - Brawn

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Ross Brawn

After a faltering start to Mercedes' revived factory F1 programme from 2010-12, this season the Brackley squad stepped up to become a multiple race-winner and often the closest threat to the increasingly dominant Red Bulls.

Nico Rosberg's British GP victory moved Mercedes up to second in the constructors' championship, but it has been unable to break away from Ferrari, which briefly nosed back ahead just after the summer break.

With just the United States and Brazilian GPs remaining, Mercedes is 11 points ahead of its Italian rival.

"The final two race weekends of the season are extremely important for our team and the outcome will determine how our season is judged," said Brawn.

"We've gained some momentum from two strong weekends in India and Abu Dhabi which consolidated our position in the constructors' championship but we can't take anything for granted."

Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff said the focus since Abu Dhabi had been to make the car more 'raceable', as its trend of falling back on Sundays after qualifying well had not been totally eradicated - particularly for Lewis Hamilton.

"As a team, we have built some good momentum in the past two races, outscoring our direct rivals and showing our determination to hold on to second place in the constructors' championship," said Wolff.

"That's our clear focus and we have been working hard since Abu Dhabi to see how we can give the drivers a more raceable package for the final leg of the season."

Battle for second

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