Brawn: The 'true Schumi' set to return - F1 | ITV Sport
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 00:00
Formula 1 will again see the “true” Michael Schumacher in action next season when Pirelli introduces its new tyre into the sport, his Mercedes GP boss Ross Brawn has confidently predicted.
In his first year out of retirement Schumacher has failed to get any where near the heights he achieved during his previous career and been unable to match team-mate Nico Rosberg’s speed on a consistent basis.
Both Mercedes and Schumacher have blamed his struggles on an inability to match his driving style to the team’s 2010 car and narrower Bridgestone front tyres – although many pundits have suggested that the once-all-conquering German has simply lost his old speed.
Brawn though insists that Schumacher’s skills are undiminished in many areas and it’s just his problems getting the best out of tyres in slow corners that have restricted him.
“If you take the telemetry data in fast corners or his reaction time when the car breaks away, I don’t see any difference,” he said in an interview with the official F1 website.
“There he’s still the old Michael. But in the slow corners he cannot make full use of the tyres as Nico can.
“Nico has put the bar very high in this respect.
“But I guess that’s okay for Michael as he clearly sees where he has to improve. I predict that in 2011 we will again see the true Michael - when we’ve delivered him a better car.”
F1 will switch to Pirelli tyres next season and, while Brawn concedes he doesn't yet have lots of data on the Italian firm’s in-development 2011 rubber, he is confident they will be more favorable towards Schumacher’s natural ‘pointy’ turn-in style.
“As particular as the Bridgestone tyres have been this year I don’t expect the Pirelli tyres to be,” he said.
“There has even been a change for the worse from 2009 to 2010 - something that we had not anticipated and thus had not considered for our weight distribution.
“Next year we expect the Pirelli tyres will work better for Michael’s driving style and only then will we know if Nico really is quicker than Michael.”
In the record-breaking first part of his F1 career, Schumacher claimed at least one victory and five podium finishes per season in his full campaigns – but since his comeback he has yet to finish higher than fourth and has claimed just 46 points to Rosberg’s 122.
Brawn admits that had any other driver than Schumacher achieved such middling results this year they would have likely lost their seat for next season.
But, given that it is the seven-time champion behind the wheel, Brawn is adamant there is more to come once Mercedes gives him a car he can work with better.
“To be honest, probably not,” he said when asked if another driver would be dropped if they had Schumacher’s 2010 results.
“But because we know Michael, we know that there is still a lot to come because Michael is in many fields more talented than others - in driving and in the cooperation with the team.
“The team are very happy with the way Michael is contributing. If he were a rookie we surely would have asked ourselves if he has the capacity to advance. With Michael we know that he has.”
As well as increased rumours about whether Schumacher will return for 2011, recent speculation has also centered on the relationship between Brawn and his Brackley team’s German manufacturer paymasters amid Mercedes's poor season.
Brawn denies there is currently any friction between him and Mercedes although he says there is probably scope to improve its working relationship.
“It’s sad that such rumours always get around. But let’s be clear - none of us are happy with the performance this year, and of course Mercedes want to know how and when we will improve,” he said.
“But nobody needs to tell me that it is important to win.
“And probably we can still improve the relationship between Brackley and the Mercedes engine factory, but Mercedes is very open to all suggestions. So at the moment there are no problems whatsoever. They will come if we are not able to improve in the future.”