After finishing fifth and sixth in Bahrain, Mercedes GP are now looking ahead to the Australian Grand Prix, which takes place at Albert Park, Melbourne, in just over a weeks time.
The street circuit, which uses the public roads around the man-made Albert Park lake, just south of Melbourne city centre, is one of the drivers favourites and usually delivers an exciting race.
Nico Rosberg, who finished ahead of teammate Michael Schumacher in Bahrain, has fond memories of previous races down under. “The Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne has always been a successful race for me. I have been in the points for my last three races and had my first podium finish there in 2008 when I finished third. Melbourne is a great city so I really enjoy visiting and the Albert Park street circuit is exciting. It's quite a challenging track as the public roads are always dirty to begin with and there are a lot of bumps to negotiate. With the change in the time of the race last year, the low sun was one of the most difficult things due to the late afternoon start.”
Schumacher, who has won in Australia four times, is already in the country preparing for the race. “Australia has always been one of the highlights on the Formula One calendar and this has never changed for me in all my years of competing. As in previous times, I arrived on the continent quite early and have spent some nice days training, adapting and relaxing in order to be fit and rested for the race weekend. I have a lot of good memories from Melbourne and most of the time, we saw interesting races there.
“I am very happy with the outcome of the season opener in Bahrain. Sixth position was good for me, especially considering how few times I have driven an F1 car since my retirement. I am sure that Melbourne will help me to get into the rhythm even more and I am looking forward to it.”
Ross Brawn acknowledges that Mercedes are a bit behind the leading teams in terms of pace, but thinks that Rosberg and Schumacher will be challenging for wins soon. “The team did a good job in Bahrain but we accept that we were not competitive enough and that we have work to do to close the gap to the leaders. I was very pleased with the performance of Nico and Michael and the way that they worked together to provide clear and consistent feedback to develop the car over the weekend. Whilst our car is fundamentally strong, we have a development plan in place for the next few races which should bring the required performance improvements to compete at the front.
“Looking ahead to the next two races, the Australian Grand Prix is always a popular race with the teams and the fans so we hope to see a more exciting race at Albert Park next weekend. We then head to Malaysia for the home race of our title partner PETRONAS. With an exciting programme of activities scheduled at the PETRONAS Pit Pulse fan zone in Kuala Lumpur, it will be a busy and enjoyable fortnight for the team.”
Norbert Haug is expecting a tough race at Albert Park, but says the whole team is looking forward to the race. “The forthcoming Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne's Albert Park is the first of two races within eight days. The layout of the traditional race track in Melbourne, which will host its 15th Formula One World Championship race since 1996, is quite different to Bahrain where the season-opener took place. I expect quite a challenging race for us.
“The base of our car is good and the team is working hard and focused to achieve the next development steps. It will take some time to close the gap but we will definitely close it sooner rather than later. Our spirit is first-class and the whole team is looking forward to the race weekend in Melbourne.”