Michael Schumacher has declared that he will know from the first time he drives Mercedes Benz’s 2011 car if it is to be competitive or not.
The former 7 time world champion made a comeback this season with the German based outfit following three years on the sidelines, and says that the initial testing will be key to future development, race wins and importantly whether the team will be able to compete for the titles.
Schumacher added that he knew from the first test with the 2010 car that it was not competitive enough.
“What we want to see is we have a feeling with the car, especially with what I know from now,” he said of his hopes for the first test next year.
“I could jump into the car and get a reasonable feeling, although the rules will change and not be 100 per cent precise, but you do get an input.
“At the [first] test this year, even though I had not driven for three years, I got a warning that was later confirmed.
“I hope we have no warnings, that we have a competitive car, one we can develop, and very importantly it will be what you see towards the end of the tests to the first race [that counts].
“That’s my main focus, so when I drive it I hope I get a good read of it.”
Meanwhile, looking back at his somewhat disappointing 2010 season, Michael said he was satisifed.
“Looking back at certain events there are reasons to be happy with certain things,” he said.
“Looking at the development over the year, particularly with what I take out of it, the team, Mercedes, asked me to come back because of who and what I am, and what contribution I can make.
“From all these factors we are happy to keep on working together, and most importantly I am happy to keep on working together because I have fun.”
Michael Schumacher reassured fans that he was totally fine following a horrific accident at yesterday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The former 7 time world champion was lucky to escape serious injury following an incident with Force India driver Vitantonio Liuzzi. Schumacher spun early on into the first lap of the Grand Prix, and Liuzzi came flying around the corner to be greeted with Schumacher stranded in the middle of the circuit. The Italian drivers car bounced up onto the Mercedes Benz narrowly missing Schumacher’s helmet. The German was helpless inside the cockpit.
Both drivers emerged unscathed, and shook hands on their way back to the pitlane.
Schumacher said: “I went off the line, spun and because of the dirt there, the back of the car just came around.
“I had to go to the medical centre just for a precautionary check, but I am totally fine and was not hit by anything in the incident.”
It was a sad end to a poor come back year for Schumacher. He had shown good pace towards the end of the season, and said he was looking forward to competing again next year with his German backed Mercedes Benz outfit.
“What happened is a shame as obviously I would have liked to have finished the season with a more positive ending,” he added.
“But I am already looking forward to fighting again next year.”
Michael Schumacher has said he is hoping to have a good result at one of his favourite circuits, Suzuka, next time out as the Formula One season begins to draw to a close.
Schumacher, 41, has had a miserable return season in F1 with Mercedes Benz. Last time out in Singapore he only managed to finish in 13th place. However with good omens from the past at this track, the German is hoping for a good result.
“Suzuka was always one of my favourite circuits of the year as driving the track is simply sensational in parts. Suzuka is technically demanding and has interesting corner combinations so it was a really good feeling when you got it together,” Schumacher said.
“I am heading to Japan with some good memories in mind as the track in Suzuka was the scene of some great races for me. Obviously I hope that we can add more and I am definitely up for the challenge. I am sure we will try to get the maximum out of our weekend.”
Rumour had been hotting up that Michael would retire at the end of the current season once and for all, but these rumours have been denied by his agent.
Mercedes Benz team principal Ross Brawn has said he will be launching a full investigation into the mistake in the pitlane at the Hungarian Grand Prix, which led to the rear tyre of Nico Rosberg’s car becoming detatched.
Rosberg came into the pits under the safety car, along with many others in a relatively standard move. However the rear right hand side wheel change went totally wrong when the wheel nut flew off the car just before he was released. While the rear gunner tried to scramble it back on, the lollipop man and rear jackman let Rosberg leave the pitbox, and the rear tyre subsequently became detatched and flow down the pitlane.
The loose tyre raced away, nearly knocking one Sauber mechanic over, before flying into the air after hitting a Williams mechanic who suffered cuts and bruises. It was finally caught by a brave Sauber mechanic.
Mercedes were fined $50,000 for the incident.
“It appears that as the guy came off with the wheel gun, it spat the wheel nut but he didn’t see it disappear,” said Ross Brawn.
“He went back on, fired the gun and realised the nut was no longer there so came back out to grab the other gun and the rear jack guy thought he had finished, so he dropped the car and away he went.
“I think we understand what happened and we will clearly look at how we can prevent it happening again.”
He added: “When the gun went on to take the nut off, the gun hadn’t engaged properly so the nut was off the axle and it spat it out. The guns are so quick and powerful now you don’t see the nut travelling at the speed of light.”
Bernie Ecclestone has tipped former 7 time world champion Michael Schumacher for retirement at the end of the season, echoing claims by Sir Jackie Stewart that the German is to leave F1.
Schumacher only returned to racing this season following an absence since the end of 2006. He joined up with the newly formed Mercedes Benz team, but so far his performances have been relatively lacklustre compared to the Schumacher of old.
Despite Michael, 41, claiming he will stay and see out his 3 year contract, Ecclestone believes he might call it a day.
“If Schumacher doesn’t perform I doubt whether he will want to stay,” Ecclestone told City AM
“He is obviously fit, motivated and talented but the car hasn’t been up to him,” he added
Ross Brawn the team principal of the Mercedes Benz team has warned the German manufacturer about supplying any more teams with customer engine units following Red Bull Racing’s interest in using the marques V8’s from next year.
Brawn believes the team, who supply engines not only to their works outfit but to Force India and McLaren too, are already at full stretch and that adding another supplier would weaken the works teams charge to a title.
“In my opinion, as constructors, we at Mercedes would need to think long and hard before adding another customer to our list,” Brawn told Autosprint magazine.
“I think we are on the limit as far as supplies are concerned. We must make sure there is always a Cosworth able to sell its engines, it’s not the duty of a car manufacturer.
“As for the power, I don’t know. The truth is that there is no procedure that determines precisely the parameters. We would be fine with placing all the engines on the bench under the FIA’s supervision.
“But measuring the power is only a part of the problem. There’s the cooling, the driveability, the fuel consumption. And just recently the boss of Renault’s engine guys has said that their V8 may not be the most powerful, but it’s the best from many other aspects…”
Michael Schumacher has declared himself satisfied with the explanation, and recent clarification of the rules regarding the safety car following his incident with Fernando Alonso at the end of the Monaco Grand Prix.
Schumacher overtook Alonso on the final corner at Monaco, in breach of rule 40.13 as he overtook the Spaniard while still technically under safety car conditions, despite the car pulling into the pits as it was the final lap.
The rules have been adjusted slightly to make this clearer after Schumacher told reporters he was told to race to the line.
“There is no point to get into past incidents,” said Schumacher in an interview with Sky Italia.
“But the point is that if I understand the situation correctly, the FIA has identified something that happened in Monaco and they want to improve the situation.
“That is something good for the sport and I am quite happy for this to happen.”
Fernando Alonso has told Spox.com that he was not surprised Michael Schumacher tried to pass him while under safety car conditions in Monaco.
The former rivals were in 6th and 7th place on the final lap when Schumacher pulled the contraversial overtake at the final corner. Schumacher believed the safety car to have gone in so racing continued, but was in breach of rule 40.13 which states that if a safety car is out at any point on the final lap then no overtaking can take place.
Alonso made a small error into La Rascasse giving Schumacher the opportunity to pull the illegal move.
“The team told me over radio that we could not overtake,” Alonso said.
“I wanted to attack Lewis Hamilton, but I was forbidden by the team to do it. The fact that Michael went ahead to pass me did not surprise me.”
“I was calm and that was later confirmed by the stewards, who put things right,”