• Malaysian Grand Prix - Qualifying

DRS problem keeps Schumacher out of Q3

ESPNF1 Staff
April 9, 2011 « Hamilton happy to close gap to Red Bull | »
Michael Schumacher could not take advantage of his moveable rear wing © Getty Images
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Michael Schumacher said a problem with his Drag Reduction System (DRS) was to blame for his poor qualifying performance at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Schumacher failed to make Q3 after a slow final lap, over 0.6 seconds off his team-mate Nico Rosberg and only good enough for 11th. Mercedes DRS is one of the most effective on the grid but he indidcated that it was not working to its full potential in Malaysia.

"We had some issues with the rear wing activation today and unfortunately that's what compromised my last run in Q2," Schumacher confirmed. "The car became difficult to drive, which is a real shame as it had been working very well during the earlier runs. The performance was much better with the wing, so of course we had to use it, and I would still say that we have made a step forward thanks to the hard work from our guys. We now have to concentrate on tomorrow's race which we go into with the firm belief that anything can be possible."

Nico Rosberg had the wing available to him in Q2 but suffered similar problems in Q3, in which he qualified eighth.

"The team have made some good progress here and I had a decent balance up to Q2 today," he said. "Unfortunately I lost that feeling in Q3, which combined with the rear wing issue, meant we weren't able to get the performance out of the car which is frustrating.

"The car is better than we have been able to show so far this season but we don't know exactly why we are not getting more performance at the moment. We need to look into today's issues now and have a good think to see what can help us improve in the race tomorrow."

Team principal Ross Brawn backed up his drivers' comments and said the car was currently too inconsistent to show its true potential.

"We had a difficult qualifying session today," he added. "We're still struggling with the consistency of the car and are not giving Nico and Michael the best chance to show what they could achieve. There are times when the car is working well and the pace is evident, however there are too many occasions where things are not functioning properly.

"We're quite clearly not where we want to be but will continue to work hard to achieve a more competitive position. It will be a challenging race tomorrow, unless the weather or other events play a part in creating opportunities."

Brawn admitted that the DRS issue reduced rear grip and in turn affected the balance of the car, causing difficulties for both Schumacher and Rosberg.

"The balance can be disrupted by two to three per cent, which is enough to affect the drivers," he said.