Michael Schumacher argues that the 'extra boost' he will receive from competing in front of his adoring fans in this weekend's German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring will provide him with 'extra motivation' to demonstrate his famed 'fighting spirit' – as Mercedes Grand Prix team-mate Nico Rosberg eyes 'another step forward' on home turf.
Not only is Mercedes the only German team in the paddock – or partly, anyway – but it also has the only all-German driver line-up, too, and as such is even more eager than usual to turn its thus far troubled F1 2011 campaign around with a strong performance at the Nürburgring.
To-date this season, there has been no finish higher than fourth for Mercedes – for Schumacher in Canada – and the team is only three points clear of Lotus Renault GP in the tight battle over the same spot in the constructors' standings. Just as 1992 F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell used to say that racing on home turf gave him as much as an extra second a lap in terms of performance, however, so 'Schumi' hopes to gain a lift from some of the fervent support he will doubtless receive this weekend.
“With two home races in a row, we are fortunate to be given an extra boost as we head to the Nürburgring for the German Grand Prix, just two weeks after Silverstone,” enthused the man who has triumphed around the Eifel Mountains circuit on no fewer than five previous occasions. “This season has been a difficult one for performance predictions so far, however I can predict one thing for sure – the extra boost we receive will be transformed into extra motivation.
“We saw some improvements over the Silverstone weekend with our new exhaust system, along with improvements to how we work with the tyres, so we go to the next race weekend with a good feeling added to our fighting spirit. We definitely want to show our home crowds our best level of performance possible. It will be the first time that I race through the corner which is named after me (Turns Eight and Nine), and obviously I would like to believe that this is not only making me proud – but also even faster!”
“Coming to the Nürburgring for the German Grand Prix always feels very special to me,” added Rosberg, who took the chequered flag an excellent fourth there with Williams two years ago. “There is so much history around this amazing track, especially for Mercedes-Benz with great drivers from the past having had such successful times on the Nürburgring and the legendary Nordschleife.
“This year, I will have the opportunity to drive Juan-Manuel Fangio's car from 1954 on the amazing old circuit, and that will be very special – but of course I am also looking forward to the grand prix itself. I hope that we can take another step forward with our new package and close the gap to the top a little. It will be exciting to drive in front of a big German crowd in the Mercedes-Benz grandstand. Hopefully they will see a good performance from both me and our car.”
Having initially trailed Renault in the F1 2011 constructors' chase, Mercedes has now vaulted ahead by consistently outscoring its closest rival over the past few races. Team principal Ross Brawn knows that maintaining that recent progress will be pivotal to sending the partisan supporters home happy this weekend.
“As the Mercedes works team, we are looking forward to a special occasion,” the Englishman confessed. “Our car showed positive signs of improvement with the new upgrade package and exhaust system at Silverstone, and we have been working hard since then to further enhance our understanding of its performance capabilities. We are hopeful of continuing this progression and putting on a good performance, giving our drivers the opportunity to show what they can do in front of their own supporters.”