- Bahrain Grand Prix
We won't be troubling the podium - Mercedes
Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug believes his team will not be in the chase for a podium at the opening round of the season in Bahrain.
Michael Schumacher recently said he expects to be fighting at the front of the field, but Haug has warned that top-three results will not be possible until later rounds. Mercedes appeared to be just off the pace of the front runners in pre-season testing and team principal Ross Brawn has admitted that it is putting its faith in car upgrades to catch up with Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull.
"In my opinion, we will not challenge for the podium in the first few races, but we will definitely show up afterwards," Haug said. "Judging our competitiveness for the first couple of races, my impression is that we are not quite where we want to be and I would not see our team in the role of favourites. Having said that, I am fully convinced that the whole team and our drivers Nico [Rosberg] and Michael are fully prepared to get on top of our job and fulfil our targets which are winning races and fighting for world championships."
However, Rosberg has confidence in the new car and believes the gains the team made at the final test, combined with the update for the first race will make it a front runner.
"We did have some concerns that we were not able to find the right direction to extract the maximum potential from the car, but by working hard we were able to find our way and ended testing on a high," he said. "We also have a good upgrade coming for Bahrain which should develop the car further and so I am quite optimistic that we will do well. Bahrain is a track which I really enjoy so it should be a good start to the season all in all."