• Malaysian Grand Prix

Malaysia will show cars' true pace - Schumacher

ESPNF1 Staff
March 20, 2012 « Lotus no longer a second class team - Boullier | Rosberg hoping for F-duct advantage in Malaysia »
Michael Schumacher: "The car gives me a good feeling for the season ahead" © Sutton Images

Michael Schumacher is expecting to gain a clearer understanding of how Mercedes stacks up against its rivals at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix.

Schumacher retired from third place at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix with a gearbox problem, but warned that Albert Park is not always the best indication of how a car will perform over the course of the season.

"After the disappointment of how the first race in Melbourne turned out, I am flying to Malaysia with a big sense of anticipation, because we saw in Australia that our car is capable of putting us in the mix," he said. "Of course, we haven't forgotten that the circuit in Melbourne is not really representative of the true competitive picture, but nevertheless the car gives me a good feeling for the season ahead.

"Sepang will be interesting for everybody because it will be the first clue to the real relative strengths of all the cars. The range of slow and fast corners give a good indication of where you are, which always makes the race in Malaysia fun for the drivers and engineers, and overall a big challenge for both man and machine. I'm looking forward to it."

Despite looking quick in qualifying, Mercedes came away from Australia without any points as Schumacher's team-mate Nico Rosberg struggled with tyre degradation and dropped to 12th after a final lap incident. However, team principal Ross Brawn thinks the W03 is capable of much more.

"Despite a positive start, our first race weekend of the season in Australia did not turn out as we would have wished, and there has been, and will continue to be, a lot of hard work done before we take to the track again in Malaysia," he said. "We have a fundamentally good car, now it is up to us to optimise its performance and achieve its potential on track."