Ross Brawn says working with Michael Schumacher at Mercedes feels just the same as it did when the two were at Ferrari together.
Speaking at the Circuit de Catalunya today he said:
Obviously [Schumacher] stopped because he was a little bit tired of Formula 1. That’s gone now and he’s very passionate about racing again. He’s working very hard with Nico to improve the car so he’s pretty much where he left off.
He’ll find more time in himself because, for example, today was the first time he’s run low fuel – or low-ish fuel – so there’s those things he’s got to start getting back into. But I don’t think Michael will be the issue: we’ve got to get the car a little bit better.
Schumacher said earlier this week he feels the car might be able to challenge for wins from the first race and Brawn agrees:
I think we might be able to. We should be close enough to have a go. But obviously we’re not enjoying the situation we had last year [at Brawn]. No-one is.
We’re just a little bit off where we want to be. But we’re about close enough to be within reach.
We’re getting some mileage done now, I think you saw this morning we had some people trying lower fuel levels and we’re not a long way off, we’re just a few tenths off where we want to be. We have a new package for Bahrain and we think that’s going to make the difference.
The aero package we’re bringing is predominantly an efficiency improvement and therefore, we hope, a performance improvement.
It seems OK on high fuel but the difficulty with high fuel is you don’t know what other people are running. From the race runs we’ve done so far we seem to be there or thereabouts. In the run we did yesterday with Nico we looked quite competitive.
Today with Michael and yesterday with Nico was the first time we’ve run with low fuel so we’ve got some useful data now on how we can approach the set-up with low fuel.
At the end of the morning’s running at the Circuti de Catalunya Schumacher’s Mercedes was fourth, 0.273s off the fastest time, set by Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren.