F1 »

Brawn: We can still win title - and with Schumacher

Ross Brawn has said that he expects Mercedes GP to feature in this year's F1 title battle - despite what others may think.

Mercedes GP Petronas team principal Ross Brawn has refused to rule either of his drivers out of the 2010 Formula One title race, despite others in the sport apparently discounting the Silver Arrows after just three races.

While Michael Schumacher's performance - or lack of - has surprised some, Nico Rosberg sits in a share of fourth place with reigning champion Jenson Button, just four points off overall leader Felipe Massa with finishes of fifth, fifth and third from Bahrain, Australia and Malaysia. Despite that, Red Bull rival Mark Webber has already dismissed Mercedes from title contention, claiming that it will be a three-horse race between RBR, Ferrari and McLaren.

Brawn, however, disagrees - and refuses to rule Schumacher out of the equation either.

"With the new scoring system, just one race weekend can have a dramatic impact on the standings," the fabled designer and tactician told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport from a wet and windy Shanghai, “Nico is extremely fast and has run very good races, especially in Malaysia, but, with every weekend, Michael is gaining more and more momentum. Both will get good results when we give them a car that matches their talents - then they will be right at the front.”

Brawn has already admitted that the WO1 has yet to produce the speed to match Webber's tips [see story here], but remains confident that efforts behind the scenes in both Brackley and Stuttgart will have the desired effect of closing the gap on the leaders.

"We hope that we can continue the upward trend in China, especially with Michael who, if he had a problem-free run, could show the progress he has made since beginning of the season," he noted, "The top teams look, for the moment, very strong, but we have an aggressive development programme for the next few months with which we should be able to reduce the arrears to these teams. It is not easy to predict when that will happen, but everyone in the team is working extremely hard to guarantee that we achieve this goal as fast as possible."

Observers may question Brawn's judgement - and maybe misplaced loyalty - in backing Schumacher for a title shot, but the wily Briton insists that the seven-time champion should not be judged on three races, especially as one ended with mechanical problems and another was hampered by a first lap collision not of the German's making.

"The title fight will not be decided for a long time," he pointed out, "Michael has a strong influence on the team and, even though he still trying to gain a foothold on F1 after three years away, it is rather clear that he is becoming stronger with each running. Unfortunately, Michael did not have good races in Melbourne or Malaysia but, in both cases, the reasons for it lay outside of its control.

"His technical contribution is of inestimable importance, and his approach to racing has not changed since our time together at Ferrari. He was always the ultimate professional, with full devotion, and still supplies technical feedback on an enormously impressive level. But, above all, Michael is enjoying his return to the sport - and I know that he loves the feeling of being in the top flight again.

"Michael and Nico have proved that they are very strong team players and co-operate very well. We were always very open in the team, and both drivers and their engineers work closely with one another on the improvement of our car. That has the highest priority, but I think it will become a fascinating fight between them."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Qualifying, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB6 pole position, Nico Rosberg (GER), Mercedes GP F1 Team, MGP W01 2nd position and Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB6 3rd position
03.02.2010 Valencia, Spain, Ross Brawn (GBR) Team Principal, Mercedes GP and Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP - Formula 1 Testing, Valencia
Ross Brawn, Team Principal, Mercedes GP
Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher and the 1996 Ferrari F310
Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso - Mercedes, McLaren
Chase Carey, Ross Brawn & Sean Bratches
George Russell, Mercedes junior programme, [Credit: Mercedes]
Valtteri Bottas, Nico Rosberg
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Nico Hulkenberg - Renault Sport F1
Nigel Mansell - McLaren-Mercedes
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

Manxie - Unregistered

April 15, 2010 12:47 PM

Interesting info there from J.E.T. How reliable is your source? I do remember RB stating to bring a different car to that used during winter testing. Could be a clever move from RB to hold back until the European leg with his new car - only if it proves to be much faster than the current. Do you read German :)

Manxie - Unregistered

April 15, 2010 11:44 AM

Judging by the first three races Brawn are not in a position to advocate that they are capable of winning this years WC. I think Ross is under pressure to please the big 'Deutsche Company' Mercedes and he therefore might need to come out with such statements. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge RB fan, but to say they can mix with the top 2-3 teams is a bit ambitious. Maybe next year, unless there is a huge upgrade on its way for the European leg.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.