Both Nico Rosberg and his Mercedes team-mate Michael Schumacher think that the team’s successful pre-season testing should mean that they are well-prepared for next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.
The pair are confident that they are in a good position ahead of the opening race of the 2012 season, and are very much looking forward to getting this new season started.
“I’m really looking forward to the start of the new season in Australia next weekend,” said Rosberg. “I had a perfect winter break with plenty of rest, a good training camp and a successful pre-season test programme where we were able to put a lot of mileage on our F1 W03 car. So we are really ready for the first race.
“I always love the atmosphere in Melbourne; it’s a great city and the fans are fantastic. After all of the hard work, and all of the speculation, it will be really interesting to see where we are on Saturday afternoon after qualifying.
“Before heading to Australia, I will be in New Zealand for a bike training camp to help me adjust to the time difference and the climate ‘Down Under’.”
Schumacher appears to be fed up of the constant speculation over the pace of Mercedes relative to their rivals: “Finally, we can stop trying to read the tea-leaves from testing and actually go racing,” said the seven-time world champion.
“Melbourne is a perfect location, and the ideal place to start the season. The city loves Formula One, the fans create a great atmosphere and obviously, as drivers, we feel that too. And because we’ve already got a buzz about what’s to come, it just makes you want to get out there and start driving.
“During winter testing, we completed lots of miles and built up a really complete set of data, which should put us in a good position for the first race and to develop the car even further in the right direction. We’re ready for the 2012 season to begin…”
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn agrees that the team are in a good position as they head into the new season, and is eager to see how competitive the W03 will be in race trim.
“The build-up to the start of a new season is always an exciting time, no matter how many times you have experienced it, and everyone at the team is looking forward to the action getting underway in Melbourne next week,” he said.
“We are well prepared, both at the factory and on track, as a result of our structured development and testing plan, and I am confident that we are in a good position. How this translates to our performance relative to the competition is, of course, the key question and it will be interesting to see how it all shapes out next weekend.
“My thanks to all of the team at Brackley and Brixworth for their hard work and dedication over the winter months and I hope we will be able to reward them with a strong season. Melbourne has always been one of the atmospheric races on the calendar, and certainly one of my favourite cities to visit, so I look forward to a good week ahead.”