Michael Schumacher retained a neutral stance last week on his expectations for the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, and that is probably the best idea. Having finished tenth on two occasions, and retired twice, the 43-year-old is looking for every little ting to push him forward. In Bahrain he struggled with the Pirelli tyres, saying that drivers were not able to drive either the car or themselves to the max, because they had to conserve the tyres too much. Still, the seven time world champion is now looking forward to Spain, hoping to work on the developments from testing at Mugello.
“After completing our testing programme in Mugello, we are now heading to the start of the European season in Barcelona next week. The positive thing about the test was that we could really concentrate on the developments we were aiming to work on. This should give us a good basis for further developments, even if maybe not for the next race to come. Barcelona is a track we have driven extensively on, and this is why we know that its characteristics do not exactly play fully into our hands. But then, we will definitely go there and try our best and at the same time keep on working for the things to come.”
Team mate Nico Rosberg, 6th in the championship, is positive towards the Spanish Grand Prix, and like Schumacher, he is eager to see how the developments gained from testing will work in the race.
“I am really looking forward to next weekend and racing in Europe again. It’s quite unique to come to a track where we have done so many laps in winter testing, however the race weekend will be a completely different challenge. The test in Mugello this week was very positive for us, and I believe we will arrive in Barcelona with a much better understanding of the tyres and how we need to set our car up. Despite the familiarity of the track, there will still be a lot of work for us to do, and it should be a good challenge.”
Norbert Haug, vice-president of Mercedes-Benz motorsport, said:
“The first four races of the 2012 season have offered great, thrilling sport for all fans of Formula One. Eight drivers from six teams on the podium in four races – one more driver than in the entire 2011 season – and four winners from four races for the first time in nearly 30 years; you couldn’t ask for more in terms of on-track excitement and unpredictability. No team has yet produced winning form at more than one event and achieving this consistency will be key. Our Mercedes AMG Petronas team has registered a positive trend: after two difficult races at the start of the season, we were competitive and won in China then, in Bahrain, we were the third-fastest team on race day. We have been hard at work since then to further improve the competitiveness, consistency and reliability of our car. The Circuit de Catalunya will present a very different challenge next weekend to the ones in the first four races with track temperatures likely to be very different and with new developments on the cars. We will approach the race weekend in a focused manner in order to maximise our team performance with both drivers.”