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Mercedes GP drivers quietly confident for 2011 16 Mar 2011

Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One Testing, Day 3, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 10 March 2011 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One Testing, Day 4, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 11 March 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02.
Formula One Testing, Day 4, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 11 March 2011 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP.
Formula One Testing, Day 3, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, 10 March 2011

Mercedes GP’s pre-season preparations have not gone quite to plan, with the MGP W02 initially struggling for pace and reliability. Drivers Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, however, are keen to downplay any concerns and are optimistic that the team could well notch up podiums and wins this year.

“My feeling is a good one,” Schumacher told Mercedes GP’s official website. “The team has been working very hard over the winter to shape our car in all of the areas which had been identified by us as needing improvement. As a driver, you obviously hope for a good step forward and I think this is what we have achieved.

"I am confident that we can compete for podium finishes, and I am hopeful we can fight for victories at some of the races. Saying that, we will only see the truth once the season gets underway, so I can hardly wait to go to Melbourne to finally see what the real picture is.”

Over four winter tests, Mercedes GP have completed 5759 kilometres of running, which equates to just under 19 race distances. At the most recent session, which took place at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya last week, a new upgrade package appeared to pay off and Rosberg is optimistic the revised car has the potential to succeed.

“We’ve made good progress over the four tests,” Rosberg explained. “It’s perhaps been a more difficult winter than we expected but everyone has worked really hard and pushed on with the new upgrades so that we have the car that we want for the start of the season. We haven’t got the fastest car yet but we are going in the right direction.

“The handling is better, the car has more grip, and is generally more fun to drive. We are certainly looking much better this year and our main target is to improve on our performances from last year. We have a good platform to do that.”

Schumacher and Rosberg will be back on track next Friday for Practice One of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

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