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Schumacher: Don't expect too much in Spain 30 Apr 2010

Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday, 16 April 2010 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 4 April 2010 (L to R): Ross Brawn (GBR) Mercedes GP Team Principal with Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 15 April 2010 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 4 April 2010 Norbert Haug (GER) Mercedes Sporting Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday, 16 April 2010

Michael Schumacher has warned fans that he is unlikely to be fighting for victory in next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, despite the much-talked-about improvements to his Mercedes GP car.

Schumacher is confident the revised MGP W01, featuring a longer wheelbase and improved weight distribution, should bring a significant step forward at the Circuit de Catalunya, but believes it is still unlikely to match the likes of McLaren and Red Bull.

“Every team will come to Barcelona with a revised car and so of course do we,” said the seven-time world champion. “We have worked on general improvements to the car, as well as specific developments in downforce and efficiency, and I am confident that we have room to make further progress in the future.

“Our step forward in Barcelona will be bigger than you can make at each race during the flyaways but it would not be realistic to expect us to suddenly be competing right at the front.”

Schumacher, who has scored just 10 points to team mate Nico Rosberg’s 50 so far this season, openly admits he has struggled to get to grips with his 2010-spec machine after three years away from the sport.

Particularly problematic has been the narrower front tyres and the tendency towards understeer that comes with them. The German prefers a pointier front end to his car’s handling balance and Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn believes the changes to the MGP W01 should help address this.

"The start of the European season is the first opportunity to make significant changes to the car and the Spanish Grand Prix will see the first step in our development programme,” said Brawn. “In addition to a major aerodynamic and bodywork package, we have made changes to the wheelbase of the car which will help the overall handling and weight distribution.”

While some have questioned the wisdom of Schumacher’s much-hyped comeback following his poor start to the season, Mercedes believe he will soon be back in contention, citing Rosberg’s two podium finishes as proof of the car’s potential.

“Nico is currently second in the championship which shows that he and our team have done a good job in the first fifth of the season getting the best results from the material available,” said Norbert Haug, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport's vice-president.

“Michael did not have such a good run, mostly without his fault, in the first four races. I am absolutely convinced that this will change sooner rather than later."