Lewis Hamilton has been declared a "long shot" in this season's F1 title race due to Mercedes taking a wrong turn in its development for the start of the new aerodynamic era.
Former champion Damon Hill still believes, however, Hamilton could lay his hands on a record-breaking eighth championship if Mercedes can quickly solve the issues that have plagued it over the opening two races of the campaign.
The W13 has been particularly hit by the phenomenon known as porpoising, leading to Mercedes experimenting in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to cure the problem.
Heading into this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton already trails Ferrari's Charles Leclerc by 29 points, albeit with another 21 races still to run.
Assessing the team's performance so far on Sky Sports, Hill said: "There's always a chance with a team like Mercedes.
"They've got something wrong, and the hope is if they find a fix for that they will get a big gain in performance.
"Another question is when you look at their car it does have a slightly different design philosophy aerodynamically on the bodywork at the back.
"The hope is they haven't made a mistake in a fundamental design area. The data says the car should be good [but] they just can't tap into it because of this porpoising that's been created by an aerodynamic instability that makes the car bounce and that is hampering their performance.
"They've resurfaced Melbourne completely, it has a very smooth surface. Apparently, it's more abrasive but it has less bumps, and less bumps are good so it might be they can show what they've got."
'Calm' Hamilton a force for good inside Mercedes
Hill feels Hamilton's "calmness and maturity" have at least aided the team in its bid to find a fix, even if the 37-year-old may be expressing signs of concern at the car's lack of pace.
As to whether Hamilton can still win an eighth crown, Hill added: "Yep, I don't see why not. He's a long shot. The betting odds are apparently quite long so it might be worth a tipple on Lewis.
"As I've said before, this is going to be a long, old battle. We will not remember the first few races of this season by the time we get to halfway through. It's going to be a slog - 23 grands prix.
"And if you've got a battle going on at the front and you haven't got a dominant team then it's unlikely they will get that far ahead.
"So it's highly likely Mercedes could get in the mix, and don't forget George Russell is in there as well, he's doing a fine job, and may even take points off the other guys as well."
Lewis Hamilton has scored a record-equalling eight poles in Melbourne but only won twice. Will he add to his victory tally this weekend?