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Webber: Schumacher test pace 'just a little show for Germany'

Red Bull Racing star Mark Webber wonders if the headline-grabbing pace of Mercedes Grand Prix rival Michael Schumacher during pre-season F1 2011 testing at Jerez last week was more than just a little misleading...
Mark Webber has poured cold water upon Michael Schumacher's impressive recent testing pace for Mercedes Grand Prix at Jerez, suggesting the German legend's eye-catching lap times were 'probably just a little show for Germany' and not representative of his true form heading into the F1 2011 campaign.

Following on from a difficult first test in Valencia earlier this month – when the new Mercedes MGP W02 proved to be neither particularly fast nor reliable – the Brackley-based outfit on the face of things made a quantum leap forward when the action shifted further south in Spain last week, with Schumacher pacing the field on day two and lapping a close third-quickest on day three with Pirelli's super-soft rubber to close out the test with the best time of any of the 24 drivers in attendance.

However, given that team-mate Nico Rosberg struggled to reach the same kind of lap times during his two days in the cockpit and that 'Schumi' himself has admitted to being 'slightly concerned' at the car's lack of speed [see separate story – click here], Red Bull Racing star Mark Webber wonders if the Jerez performance was in truth little more than a publicity stunt to try to ease the mounting pressure on the team.

“It was probably just a little show for Germany,” the Australian mused. “The super-soft tyre is much faster, but they only last for one lap – [and after his fast lap] he was immediately two seconds off the pace once again.”

“I was on a ten-lap run, so I don't know if you can call that very short,” countered Schumacher, dismissing suggestions that he had barely a thimble-full of fuel in his car at the time. “It is also true that we are not the only team to have tried these tyres.”

Schumacher's former team-mate Felipe Massa, however, has sprung to the seven-time world champion's defence, insisting that it is 'not news' that he was so quick since 'he's won more than any of us' – but still speculation persists that the times set by the 42-year-old as well as the headline-stealing efforts of Nick Heidfeld on his testing debut for Lotus Renault GP and Rubens Barrichello for cash-strapped Williams were more about showboating to sponsors than any indicator of genuine potential.

Lotus Renault GP needs to placate its financial backers in the wake of Robert Kubica's rallying accident, whilst Williams is set to float on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange early next month.

“There are big differences between the different types of tyres,” conceded 2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button, with Lotus Renault GP reserve driver Bruno Senna – who tested on Sunday at Jerez – assessing the difference between the hard compound and the super-soft to be in the region of 1.5 to 1.7 seconds.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
12.02.2011- Rubens Barrichello (BRA), Williams FW33
12.02.2011- Nick Heidfeld (GER), Testing for Lotus Renault GP, R31
12.02.2011- Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
11/2/2011- Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
10/2/2011- Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, MGP W02
11/2/2011- Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
11.02.2011- Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
11/2/2011- Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
11/2/2011- Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7
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Tony - Unregistered

February 15, 2011 12:33 PM

I would guess Mark might know just a bit more about it than you two guys also he just happened to be there. However I will be surprised if Mercedes can challenge this year and the early signs from McClaren must also be a worry for them. Great to have a pretty car, but winning is all that counts!

richard

February 15, 2011 1:20 PM

webber is just saying what the majority of experienced commentators have been saying. merc have stated that they have concerns of the pace of the car, and that was AFTER schumi set his time. only when pressed, did schumi admit to using supersofts, which were good for only one lap. not saying that nobody else used them,(webber himself may have used them) but the time was not a true reflection of the cars pace. so schumis fast run was a confidence booster, and possily aimed at daimler board.



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