Schumacher upbeat on Mercedes form

Michael Schumacher believes Mercedes GP can now head to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in a 'reasonably strong' position after an encouraging first day of testing for its new upgrade package on Friday

Schumacher upbeat on Mercedes form

With the Brackley-based outfit having finally fitted its much heralded update package to the W02 for the first time at Barcelona, Schumacher showed a glimpse of its potential as he set the fastest time of winter testing at the track so far during a qualifying simulation run.

Although different programmes for Formula 1's frontrunners meant rivals Red Bull Racing and Ferrari may not have shown their full potential against Schumacher's effort, the fact that the seven-time champion was able to deliver such a solid step forward was encouraging for the team.

Schumacher himself certainly seemed upbeat about the steps that Mercedes GP had delivered so far this week - with the new front wing and turning vanes being added to the revised floor and exhaust solutions that have been on the car since the start of the week.

And despite Schumacher conceding that the true form of the teams at the front of the field would only become clear in Melbourne, there was a hint of genuine enthusiasm about what Mercedes GP has pulled together.

"We have been developing the car step by step," Schumacher said at the end of the day's testing. "The main issue we had here at the test was trying to find the right balance, and optimising the car performance.

"It has worked pretty well, so we are looking forward to going to Australia to be in a reasonably strong position. I am not sure everyone has opened their cards completely yet but that is something to be seen in Australia."

Despite its single-lap pace looking encouraging, the ultimate form of Mercedes GP would have become clearer with a longer race simulation run - something the team did not complete.

And although there is a hope that Mercedes GP may be able to get through one on its final day of running on Saturday, predicted rain could scupper those chances. It was the threatened change in weather that meant the team gave Nico Rosberg a few hours running with the new package in dry conditions on Friday afternoon.

When asked if he had seen enough to already feel confident in the Mercedes GP package, Schumacher said: "All I can say that we have seen today here that our package seems to work reasonably well, but has everyone shown their true potential? That is something that we will find out in Australia."

Mercedes will run alongside Ferrari, Williams, HRT and McLaren on the final day of pre-season testing at Barcelona on Saturday.

shares
comments
Vettel sure of early-season reliability

Previous article

Vettel sure of early-season reliability

Next article

Looking into F1's future chassis

Looking into F1's future chassis
Load comments
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Plus

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. Kevin Turner looked back at the life of Switzerland's first F1 winner on the 50th anniversary of his death

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Plus

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Plus

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz Jr. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021