Nico Rosberg remains convinced that the Mercedes GP team can continue to improve its WO2 before the end of the season, even as conventional wisdom suggests that the Brackley squad should perhaps switch its attention to 2012.

The German currently sits seventh in the standings, but is 186 points adrift of countryman Sebastian Vettel and even 22 shy of catching sixth-placed Felipe Massa. With team-mate Michael Schumacher three places and 16 points further back, Mercedes again finds itself a long way from battling for a top four constructors' spot but, with Lotus Renault just 14 points behind, needs to balance its future plans with seeing the 2011 campaign through to its conclusion.

"We are still pushing for this season and are constantly coming up with new updates, so I am very positive that we can still take a few steps forward," Rosberg confirmed to the official F1 website, "However, of course, there will be a point where we will decide to put the available resources into the development of next year's car.

Related Articles

"The top teams have already proven that they are able to construct a really good, and race-winning, car [but], at the moment, we are quite far away from being able to do the same, and it will not be possible to change this from one season to the other. This is a process which we have to go through.

"For next year, I can already see that there is a lot more effort in the manpower, and also Mercedes has strengthened its ties with the team to be able to give even more input. We are very optimistic, also from just looking at the history of Mercedes in F1, as they have always been able to win races in the past, so we are more than positive that we will get there sometime soon in the future."

More immediately, Rosberg and Schumacher return to action at the Belgian Grand Prix, with a lot of attention falling on the 20th anniversary of the seven-time champion's F1 debut. Rosberg admits that Germany's interest in F1 - and the current group of drivers on the grid - have a lot to thank Schumacher for, even if he can't necessarily recall the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix.

"His success has made F1 very popular in Germany, and therefore more companies have shown there interest, and more sponsorship budgets were allocated for motorsports, and therefore more support to build up the great talents in Germany," Rosberg reasoned, "[Being a team-mate to Schumacher] is great, and it is a very interesting experience for me.

"There is a reason why he is the most successful driver of all time. It is great to be in the same team with him, and I think we also have a great partnership where we can push the team forward as well. [However], I have to say that my memory of Michael starts only at his first championship-winning year, which was 1994. Before that, I was not really interested in F1, as I was too young. This very race that he debuted in, I was only six years old and probably didn't even know what F1 was!"