Brawn tips Schumacher to “surprise a few people”

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Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn has tipped Michael Schumacher to pull off a surprise in 2011.

Brawn said: “I think Michael can surprise a few people this year because he’s had a much better preparation.

“He’s now worked with the team for a year, knows all the engineering staff, knows how the team works and he’s had a good winter test.

“I think the experience that perhaps some of the other drivers had with tyres and other things has changed now with different tyres. So I’m quietly confident Michael’s going to make a big impression this year.”

He added: “I think the strengths of Michael are his commitment and determination. Obviously behind that has to be the skill and talent. But his commitment and determination is unchanged from when he won his world championships – in fact, maybe even more determined.”

Brawn also said Nico Rosberg is ready to score his first Grand Prix win:

“Nico came very close to winning a race last year. We were in a much better position in the beginning of the year and we picked up at the end of the year. But certainly at the beginning of the year there was an opportunity for Nico to win a race and I think this year he can win a race.

“I think we need to cross that boundary with Nico, get his first race win behind him, and then I think you’ll see Nico open up an awful lot. I’m very optimistic about the potential of Nico in the future. He’s shown great skill in the past year, he works very well with the team and like Michael is very committed and dedicated.”

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Barcelona, 2011

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Barcelona, 2011

Mercedes appeared to make a step forward in the final pre-season test. Brawn explained their approach to testing and developing the W02:

“We’re running KERS this year which for our team – our chassis team – is a first. We’ve never run KERS before, we don’t have any experience with KERS. And of course we’ve got the tyre situation.

“So it was very important that we had a car running at the first test in a representative form. You can’t put KERS on your old car, you have to design a car around KERS.

“So we wanted to get the car out running, we froze the aerodynamic specification early last year and we got that bodywork made, put it on the car and went out. We gave the aerodynamicists and the other designers the longest time possible to try and get the best out of these regulations. Because of the regulation changes, we wanted to get the most out of it.

“One area of great interest was using the exhaust gas in the most beneficial way. We’ve seen a lot of cars now with exhaust pipes in very interesting places. That was an area which we wanted to do a lot of work on before we made our decision.

“So it was to give us early running, make sure we got KERS sorted, make sure we understood the tyres, got the basics done and then come for the last with a major aerodynamic upgrade, with all those other issues hopefully sorted.

“I think we’ve gone a long way in those areas. KERS we now understand. Reliability, we did two race distances at the last test. We’re know understanding what the tyres are sensitive to. So we’ve done all the ground work and now we need to put the icing on the cake and really start to get the performance.”

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67 comments on Brawn tips Schumacher to “surprise a few people”

  1. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 22nd March 2011, 15:59

    Michael’s going to make a big impression this year.

    Hopefully a more positive one than the big impression he almost made of a Williams in the Hungaroring pit wall last year.

    • RIISE (@riise) said on 22nd March 2011, 16:02

      Oh come on, it’s racing like that which F1 has missed. Besides it worked both ways in that incident, Barrichello chose the wrong side to overtake in my opinion.

      Anyway Schumacher will, if the car is good enough get a fair few podium finishes this season, starting race win at Melbourne this weekend.

      • RU70 said on 22nd March 2011, 16:05

        Amen to that!

      • paul sainsbury said on 22nd March 2011, 16:33

        Don’t be ridiculous. Trying to drive another competitor into a wall is not ‘racing’.

        • bananarama said on 22nd March 2011, 17:09

          I still wonder what in the world tells everyone that Barrichello HAD to go by at that place at the side of the wall. Its like everyone thinks he HAD to overtake him because people were keeping Rubens family hostage and told him he HAD to overtake him there. Also the footage shows that Schumacher doesn’t even look ahead, he constantly looks at Barrichellos car and the white line (crossing the white line means leaving the track in regular circumstances).
          I don’t say it wasn’t dangerous, I’m just saying Barrichello knew Schumacher better than anyone in F1 and still he decided to go by like that.

          And after all, I really missed the controversies about Schumacher. Wherever he goes, there are so many people who dislike him and he is always going to every limit he can find, its fantastic :-D Thats an element of F1 that was clearly missing when he wasn’t there. (F1 needs its ‘villains’)

          • Mads (@mads) said on 22nd March 2011, 18:51

            He didn’t have too, but who held a gun at Schumacher’s head and told him to push Barrichello into the wall?

          • Lopes said on 23rd March 2011, 13:24

            Let me disagree with you, he HAD to pass, because he’s a racing driver and that’s what they do.

            He was faster and he went for what would have been a clean pass on one of the hardest tracks of the calendar, if it wasn’t for Shumacher’s move.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 24th March 2011, 17:54

            On the flip side, Schumacher wanted to defend his position which is also what racing drivers do.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 22nd March 2011, 17:22

          Schumacher moved across the track to defend his position. It just so happened that Barrichello forced his way through at that point. Schumacher moved back towards the middle of the track once he saw Barrichello was alongside.

          • brendan said on 22nd March 2011, 18:04

            exactly. in terms of the letter of the law. it was 100% legal.

            was it a bit OTT. probably for todays era yea. but montoya and schumi did worse to each other and that was only 6 years ago.

          • If there wasn’t a wall there people wouldn’t be kicking up as much a fuss.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd March 2011, 18:19

            That sounds reasonable, but is just not true. The footage show Schumacher pushed towards the pitwall after seeing Rubens trying the inside and only stopped when it was the pitwall at hairwide distance.

        • sato113 (@sato113) said on 22nd March 2011, 19:53

          it wasn’t on purpose. so I call that exciting racing!

        • dennis (@dennis) said on 22nd March 2011, 20:16

          I would agree if you’d say that it was certainly way too hard and dangerous, but I still have the feeling, that if a certain Ayrton Senna would have done that and later explained to people how racing is hard, then we would be able to see that and people might shed a tear for how awesome racing was back in the 80’s.

          • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 22nd March 2011, 22:38

            He did do something similar, to Prost in 1988 and the YouTube videos are full of apologists for him.

          • BBT said on 23rd March 2011, 8:23

            Senna would of complained about it. Just like he did about Mansells aggressive over taking moves on many an occasion. Although you are correct he was ruthless himself.

          • raptor22 said on 24th March 2011, 13:57

            Amen!

        • Hare (@hare) said on 22nd March 2011, 23:47

          He didn’t try. If he tried, he would have succeeded. He gave him just enough space to make it through. It was balls out driving from both drivers. I loved every second of it, and I hated Schumacher afterwards, then I loved him for given me the best and most authentic moment of the year.

        • mef said on 23rd March 2011, 2:23

          @paul sainsbury – it was a racing incident. Move on. Who would you rather have in F1 anyway. Schumacher or Barrichello?

          Who adds more?

          And don’t say Barrichello, because he’s such a ‘nice guy’.

        • Aussie Fan said on 23rd March 2011, 5:09

          hahaha thats funny, because trying to keep going for the inside line when it is obvious the car in front is defending it & will move all the way across is pretty stupid too, its much easier to just drive around the outside of them instead…..Unless you are an angry little Brazilian looking to prove a messed up point that you can be not intimidated by the great MS????

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 22nd March 2011, 17:23

        I agree with your first point RIISE, although I highly doubt he’ll win this weekend unfortunately.

      • Coefficient said on 23rd March 2011, 8:58

        How so? He got through.

    • Dan11 said on 22nd March 2011, 16:11

      Red Andy got Rubens syndrome ;)

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd March 2011, 17:28

      I think we’ve already done this one to death:

      A move too far: Schumacher forces stewards to take a stand

      • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 22nd March 2011, 17:43

        In my defence it was a throwaway comment more than anything.

        But there is a serious point. Clearly not everyone agrees with me; but I think this year is a good opportunity for Schumacher to clean up his act as well as find a bit of pace. Like last year perhaps should have been. We’ll see anyway.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd March 2011, 18:20

          Fully agree with that, Schu can show himself to the world as a hard, cunning, but fair racer this year and polish up his image.

          • Todfod (@todfod) said on 22nd March 2011, 21:11

            Honestly, I just cannot see that happening. Throughout his career he has done everything within, and beyond, the rules to win. All his antics are a part of ‘winning at all costs’ attitude. I cannot see him abandoning his racing spirit just to clean up his image. Schumi doesn’t give a **** anyways.

          • @Todfol: Do you like boring race? Or you’re a simply schumi hater. lol. :)

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 23rd March 2011, 16:15

          Yeah I would have thought that if MS was ever going to clean up his act it would have been last year…3 year layoff, new team, fresh new start etc etc…but instead he proved to be the same old same old unethical boor, and not just with the RB incident in Hungary either. He has proved to do this behaviour whether he is in a good car or whether it is one he is struggling with. I don’t look for any changes in this regard from MS. What I hope for but don’t expect is that by now the FIA has had enough and continues to actually penalize him for his poor and dangerous behaviour. And at that, the penalties may not even mean much and nothing has ever dissuaded him from what we now know is just the way he is, behaving as though he has his own rulebook, which in his Ferrari days he pretty much had.

  2. David BR said on 22nd March 2011, 16:16

    Hard to fault Brawn’s judgment. One of the best rookies last year, for sure.

  3. Merk said on 22nd March 2011, 16:25

    Please Ross, don’t be blowing smoke.. We already know your drivers have the talent, but what about your engineers.

    I’m really hoping Mclaren, Renault and especially Mercedes can keep up with the Ferrari’s and Redbulls this year. And I know Williams might be a little off pace because of their decision to axe Hulkenberg for cash, but they look to have a package with potential. Hopefully Pastor Maldonado isn’t as slow as I’m expecting.

    • Cacarella said on 22nd March 2011, 16:32

      Perhaps their decision to axe the Hulk is what will make them competitive this year,
      Now they may have the funds to develop the car properly.

  4. sam3110 (@sam3110) said on 22nd March 2011, 16:30

    The way in which Mercedes undertook testing is very innovative, building the new car, but putting old parts on it (opposite of McLaren) and then waiting to see what different things people brought to the table, and get the designers to hijack all the best ideas, and then release the full version as late as possible. This enabled them to test the reliability of the major components of the car, have a direct comparison of this years and last years tyre data, lull other teams and press into thinking they are struggling, and finally being the first team to incorporate different ideas into one package. I expect them to be the 3rd best team behind RBR and Ferrari, with McLaren behind all 3, and only on a par with Renault and Williams

    • dennis (@dennis) said on 22nd March 2011, 20:42

      Not to say that you are completely wrong, but it doesn’t really work that way. You can not simply bolt on parts you’ve seen other people use. Especially not if they’re major components like the exhaust, or the front wing.

  5. MacademiaNut said on 22nd March 2011, 17:30

    I for one would like to see Schumi give a serious challenge to Ferrari & Alonso. It will make the sport really good. I think Mercedes will be the dark horse this season.

  6. Weasel Chops said on 22nd March 2011, 17:45

    Regarding the headline for this story it’s a case of “Well he would wouldn’t he.”

    Saying that, I really hope Schumi does well this season and would be nice to see him get a win. Especially after suffering all the flak last season when he failed to meet media expectations that really were unrealistically high.

  7. Skanda said on 22nd March 2011, 18:19

    From the heading “Brawn tips Schumacher to “surprise a few people”” – I will be surprised if he doesnt win a few races this year. Hopefully MS wouldnt surprise me!

  8. sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 22nd March 2011, 18:30

    bit of a strange comment by Brawn. He’s probably pretty fed up with having to defend schumacher though

  9. SennaNmbr1 (@) said on 22nd March 2011, 20:52

    Ross looks like he’s cupping an invisible pair of breasts.

  10. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 22nd March 2011, 22:07

    Given what Brawn said about about the relationship with the High Performance Engines division it really does bring home just how good a position they in. I really hope they can capitalise on it this year.

  11. JamieFranklinF1 said on 22nd March 2011, 22:10

    I personally think that Mercedes may have done a very good job. Their performance last year was lack luster to say the least, but they may just be bringing the goods for another step forward.

  12. jonsey said on 22nd March 2011, 22:12

    well he certainly surprised people last year, long may rosberg prevail!

  13. Hare (@hare) said on 22nd March 2011, 23:49

    People are writing a 7 time world champion off? Foolish! Personally I’m backing him to work his way up! That’s what he does… incremental attrition.

  14. TheGreatCornholio said on 23rd March 2011, 0:52

    The utter domination of Schumacher and Ferrari drove me away from F1 for several years and i didn’t return until 2007 thanks to his retirement, Lewis’s debut and my young son’s interest. I wanted him to have a competitive car last year so he’d have no excuses when he got beaten by the young guns, BUT i found myself actually enjoying seeing him back and i’ve gained loads of respect for the positive way he handled a tough year! It’d be great to see him with a car worthy of his talents just to see if he’s still got it. Gonna be a cracking season:)

    • Hare (@hare) said on 23rd March 2011, 1:23

      Absolutely my point of view as well.

      I feel it may have something to do with the years of torture watching him win and denying to myself he wasn’t the best driver ever to grace a formula one track, and finding as many excuses as possible to show how he lucked in to winning, and it was more the efforts of the others in his team.

      All that effort, hatred, depression, boredom, sadness, pride crushing experience.. now has come back to count for something. I feel innately bound to support him while he hasn’t been fully tested out and given enough time to prove himself.

      I also found the MS and RB move last year, my personal classic highlight of the season.

      • TheGreatCornholio said on 23rd March 2011, 2:20

        It was a real flash of the old Schumi but i missed it as i was doing 3mph on a narrowboat holiday! Good thing really as i’d probably have thrown something at the tv. I think another reason i held a grudge against him is that i was always a massive Martin Brundle (imo the best driver to have never won an F1 race)fan and i remember hearing that he was moved on from Benetton as schumacher felt he was too quick! I’m convinced Brundle could’ve had a a more successful career if he’d been able to stay there another season

        • tequilatim said on 23rd March 2011, 3:08

          Brundle = too quick ?? LOL!!!

          Maybe he could have had a more successful career is he was any good. Schumacher mopped the track with poor old Martin many times.

          • TheGreatCornholio said on 23rd March 2011, 4:47

            Tequilatim, sounds like you’ve been drinking the stuff but maybe i should’ve been clearer. Brundle was close enough in pace to schumacher at that stage of his career for him to not want him in the team, i wasn’t saying he was actually quicker just too close for comfort.Even drivers of the standard of Alonso or Schumacher aren’t keen on having a competitve team mate as it diverts team resources away from them not forgetting the huge egos they have. As for your other comments about Brundle not being any good i would go so far as to state that you have a serious lack of knowledge regarding the subject and suggest you do a bit of reading in your spare time and you’ll find testimony from people who know what they’re talking about. Had he got the Williams drive instead of Damon Hill he’d have been a world champion and multiple race winner. The only year he got into a big team with proper funding and resources was McLaren in 95 or 96 when they had the then new Peugeot V10 and that was nothing more than a reciprocating hand grenade!

  15. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 23rd March 2011, 2:18

    From the interview it seems like Brawn & the team have all the puzzle now they need to put everything together to have a result.

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