Michael Schumacher has hinted that next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix could be a difficult race for his Mercedes team, noting that the characteristics of the Circuit de Catalunya are not a good match for the MGP W03.
However, Schumacher and team-mate Nico Rosberg enjoyed a productive week of testing in Mugello earlier this week, and the seven-time world champion is optimistic that this will lead to improvements to the car for upcoming races.
“After completing our testing programme in Mugello, we are now heading to the start of the European season in Barcelona next week,” remarked Schumacher. “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.”
Rosberg was not quite so dismissive of the team’s chances in Barcelona, and is looking forward to getting back to racing in Europe.
“I am really looking forward to next weekend and racing in Europe again,” he said. “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.”
Team principal Ross Brawn agreed that the three-day test in Mugello had been useful for the team: “After a hectic start to the season with four races and the test in Mugello, we are all looking forward to the European season getting underway and the familiarity that brings,” he said.
“The team had a good week in Italy for the test this week where we were able to work both on challenges that affected us during the initial races of the season, and evaluate a number of new developments planned for the forthcoming races.
“Spain plays host to the first European race, and although the Circuit de Catalunya is a very familiar venue for the team and our drivers, the weekend will bring its own challenges. I feel confident that we are continuing to make progress, and we will of course be working hard to continue that trend.”