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Mercedes make F1 pledge

Mercedes GP have put a disappointing season behind them by committing to a long-term future in Formula One.

Despite finishing fourth in the constructors' championship in 2010, the result was seen as a disappointment with neither Michael Schumacher nor Nico Rosberg able to consistently challenge for podium positions.

But parent company Daimler's CEO Dieter Zetsche believes that the team will only improve and maintained they were committed for the long haul.

"We have been in F1 for some time and we're staying there for the longer term," Zetsche told the DPA news agency.

"We don't want to be deciding each year whether we are in or out. And we didn't sign a one-year contract with Michael Schumacher, we signed for three years."

Mercedes only returned to the Formula One arena as a factory team this year after taking over the Brawn GP team at the end of 2009.

And Zetsche said the team's performance could not be judged after just one season.

"On the one hand, we can't have expected more as a newly formed team. We would not have complained if we had won the championship, of course, but it wasn't a realistic expectation," he said.

"It is clear that the public, and also ourselves, expect us to be looking better than this year."

"One must, however, accept that in F1 - and in sport more generally - success is not reliably predictable. Otherwise, it would be dead boring."

Zetsche also backed seven-time world champion Schumacher to fire in 2011 after the German made a disappointing comeback to the sport after retiring in 2006.

"It is very difficult to put in an impressive performance with a less competitive car. First we have to give him the car to show us his capabilities," Zetsche said.

"We want to demonstrate our leadership in this industry to be the best. It's not arrogance, it is what is expected of us and what we are measured against."

"Of course this means that if we don't meet this standard, we are criticised. We have to bear that. But this is also evidence that we are trusted to deliver."

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