• Mercedes news

Rosberg in title chase - Brawn

ESPN Staff
June 19, 2012 « Ferrari pleased with F2012 evolution | Webber future based on results »
Ross Brawn: "Nico's driving very well, the car's extremely competitive and Nico's one win away from leading the world championship" © Sutton Images
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Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn believes Nico Rosberg is in a position to challenge for this year's world championship after a consistent run of strong results over the last five races.

Despite failing to score at the first two rounds, Rosberg is still just 21 points off the top of the drivers' standings with one victory to his name. He has scored consistent points since winning in China earlier this year and Brawn sees no reason why his driver will not be able to challenge the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso for the title.

"Nico's driving very well, the car's extremely competitive and Nico's one win away from leading the world championship," Brawn told the team's official YouTube channel. "We just have to fight with everything we have to achieve the best result we can and see what evolves. But there's no reason why not."

Mercedes pace has fluctuated this year, with a dominant display in China but less convincing form at other venues. Brawn believes understanding this year's Pirelli tyres is crucial for success and said Mercedes is starting to make progress in that area.

"I think the Pirelli tyres have been quite an enigma this year," he added. "The understanding is definitely improving, but once you understand the problem you need to find a solution and finding a solution is not always easy.

"It would appear that some cars are able to attack the race without any consideration for the tyre because they don't use the tyres so severely, while other cars use the tyres very badly and suffer problems. You've even got cases with two drivers in the same car and one suffering and one not; so it's very subtle, the boundaries. When you go over the boundaries the tyres are deteriorating, but it's very subtle, those limits.

"We're certainly a lot better than we were at the start of the year. In Australia we had an immediate problem and in some ways that woke us up to the issues. We've improved our understanding, our techniques, we've improved our technology and we'll have more things on the car in Valencia to help manage the tyres more effectively. It is the challenge of this year and I that's why you've seen the different results we've been having this season."

Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher has finished just two races this year and has retired from four due to either reliability problems or operational errors. Brawn said the lack of results had been frustrating, but that it was also unusual for all the problems to occur on one side of the garage.

"It's been peculiar, and while I don't believe in fate too much, it's peculiar that we've had one car that's done every lap of every race this year and then with Michael we've had three or four problems. We're constantly looking at how we can improve the way we work and the way we operate and from every problem we've had we've taken a lesson of how we can improve and how we can do it better."