Michael Schumacher believes that Mercedes has a lot of potential to gain ground as the F1 2010 season progresses - and he is 'confident' the team will have improved the MGP W01 for the Spanish GP next weekend.
Schumacher has struggled thus far on his return to the sport, having 'retired' at the end of 2006, but despite having only scored 10 points - his best finish coming at the season opening Bahrain GP, when he was sixth, the record-breaking multiple F1 world champion insists that he remains 'extremely motivated'.
Furthermore while he has warned it is not 'realistic' to expect the Brackley-based outfit to make a massive step forward at the Circuit de Catalunya, he is hoping for a better result than he managed in China last month.
"The European season is about to kick off and now we will see how our developments look in relation to those of the other teams. Every team will come to Barcelona with a revised car and so of course do we. I see a lot of potential here especially as our team has been reacting very well over the past four races," Schumacher said.
"We have worked on general improvements to the car, as well as specific developments in downforce and efficiency, and I am confident that we have room to make further progress in the future. Our step forward in Barcelona will be bigger than you can make at each race during the flyaways but it would not be realistic to expect us to suddenly be competing right at the front.
"I am hoping for a better race in Barcelona though than I had in China and of course I would not mind having had better results so far. However the good news is that after three years away, I am still feeling extremely motivated. So I am clearly ready to take this challenge."
Mercedes GP team principal, Ross Brawn meanwhile has reiterated that Schumacher will get a 'new' chassis for the fifth round on the F1 2010 schedule. Like Schumacher though, he isn't making any lofty predictions.
"The start of the European season is the first opportunity to make significant changes to the car and the Spanish Grand Prix will see the first step in our development programme for the MGP W01," Brawn added.
"In addition to a major aerodynamic and bodywork package, we have made changes to the wheelbase of the car which will help the overall handling and weight distribution.
"Michael will use a different chassis for Barcelona as we take the opportunity of having the cars back at the factory after the flyaway races to repair some damage to his original chassis. He will switch to our first chassis which was previously used during the pre-season tests.
"Everyone at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth has worked extremely hard to ensure that the cars and our new developments are ready for Barcelona following the delayed return from China and we look forward to evaluating the impact on our pace whilst remaining conscious that this is very much a first step in improving our competitiveness."