Willi Weber has warned critics of Michael Schumacher that the seven-time champion will prove them wrong and make a return to the top in F1.

Schumacher's decision to come out of retirement to join Mercedes was one of the big stories of the off-season, but the former Benetton and Ferrari man has so far failed to make it onto the podium - with a best finish of fourth in Spain being one of only two top six finishes in six races.

However, speaking to the News of the World, Weber warned that Schumacher was never going to win straightaway on his return due to the changes made to F1 since his last race in 2006.

"The media love to write rubbish about Michael; about how he has lost it and that he should have never returned but he was never going to jump in the car after all that time away and win races," the German's manager said. "It's the same all the time, the media like to build people up and knock them down. He will come back. You will see a change in a few races and without a doubt next season will be a new era for him.

"He still has the passion and when he gets a competitive car he will rise like a phoenix from the ashes and prove his critics wrong."

Weber added that it will take Mercedes time to give Schumacher a car capable of winning races but said his driver wouldn't have returned if he didn't think he could return to the top of the podium.

"This car does not have the same advantages over the rest of the pack as Brawn had last year - where they started developing the car early," he said. "It is going to take a little time. But he will be there and I don't believe for one minute he would have come back if he didn't think he could take another title. Time will tell."

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