Ross Brawn has admitted that he felt 'nervous' and that it was 'hard to keep calm' in the early days of testing of Mercedes Grand Prix's MGP W02 – but now the team is convinced its initially uncompetitive new contender is far closer to F1's front-running pace.
There have been mixed messages coming out of Mercedes in recent days, with Nico Rosberg
reporting that the considerable upgrade package brought to the MGP W02 for the final test in Barcelona last week was 'a giant step forwards' [see separate story – click here
], but team-mate and compatriot Michael Schumacher subsequently conceding that the Brackley-based outfit is 'not quite in a position' to fight for victory just yet [see separate story – click here
], despite topping the timing screens around the Circuit de Catalunya.
Team principal Brawn remains somewhere in-between the two stools, whilst Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug is quick to point out that Schumacher and Rosberg were not the only drivers to aim for eye-catching lap times in Spain – and that if anything, they could in fact have gone even faster than they did.
“Whether we have done enough or not is difficult to say,” Brawn told the Frankfurter Allgemeine
newspaper, confessing that he was 'nervous' after witnessing the MGP W02's off-colour early form and acknowledging that much hinged upon the major update taken to the last Spanish test. “It was hard to keep calm, and I was constantly reminding the team to stick to the plan. In situations like that, it's tempting to react and waste resources.”
“Most drivers during the test in Barcelona practiced a qualifying lap,” added Haug, speaking to news agency SID
. “One or two in the field could probably have gone faster, but probably he (Schumacher) and Nico Rosberg
could have as well.”
Meanwhile, the latter sought to qualify the comments he recently made about Schumacher seeming to suggest that if an extension is to be made to the 42-year-old's current deal beyond 2012, it will need to be at a cut-price [see separate story – click here
“This was a reader's question in a live chat and the wink was not broadcast live,” the German explained, referring to his remark about being able to 'agree on a right price'. “We are very pleased with Michael and very proud of his skill and experience, and if he wants to carry on in F1 after 2012, we will very happily speak with him about it. We have no doubt that Michael Schumacher is still absolutely competitive.”