Michael Schumacher has downplayed his chances of success in the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend, arguing that Catalunya isn't a circuit that will play to the strengths of the Mercedes W03.

The team heads into the event being tipped as potential victors having broken its victory duck in Shanghai, while the car also performed solidly during testing at the circuit before the season got underway.

However, Schumacher has been quick to downplay expectations heading into the Spanish race, insisting that Catalunya isn't a circuit that will play into the team's hands.

"After completing our testing programme in Mugello, we are now heading to the start of the European season in Barcelona next week. The positive thing about the test was that we could really concentrate on the developments we were aiming to work on. This should give us a good basis for further developments, even if maybe not for the next race to come.

"Barcelona is a track we have driven extensively on, and this is why we know that its characteristics do not exactly play fully into our hands. But then, we will definitely go there and try our best and at the same time keep on working for the things to come."

Team boss Ross Brawn welcomed the fact that F1 is now back in Europe after the opening four fly-away races, and said the focus for Mercedes was to maintain the progress made so far this season.

"After a hectic start to the season with four races and the test in Mugello, we are all looking forward to the European season getting underway and the familiarity that brings," he said. "The team had a good week in Italy for the test this week where we were able to work both on challenges that affected us during the initial races of the season, and evaluate a number of new developments planned for the forthcoming races.

"Spain plays host to the first European race, and although the Circuit de Catalunya is a very familiar venue for the team and our drivers, the weekend will bring its own challenges. I feel confident that we are continuing to make progress, and we will of course be working hard to continue that trend."

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