Mercedes plays down fears of gearbox penalty for Michael Schumacher

Mercedes is confident that practice pacesetter Michael Schumacher will not need a new gearbox at this weekend's Italian Grand Prix, despite the problems he suffered in Belgium

Schumacher had challenged for a podium finish at Spa but his chances were ruined when he lost sixth gear towards the end of the race.

Although that issue could have forced a new unit for Monza, and with it a five-place penalty, team principal Ross Brawn thinks the matter is under control.

"We went to a composite box in Monaco, which initially went very well and there were no problems at all," he said. "But then we had a structural problem inside the box with Nico [Rosberg] and that culminated in a penalty in Hockenheim.

"That problem was fixed and resolved, but we had an issue at Spa because of the very long usage of sixth gear there. It is a circuit where you use sixth gear more than any other circuit in F1, and we discovered we had a glitch with the box that affected Nico in practice and affected Michael in the race.

"But the difficulty is that with the boxes having to be used for five races there is nothing you can do; so we knew we had an issue.

"We have done what we can within the rules to improve that - but we don't think that is an issue here because it is more normal usage. So we are not overly concerned about it and we don't think we will have a penalty here.

"It just caused a gear to get a bit sticky in the change, and that damaged the dogs. Having looked at that box it looks OK."

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