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Schumacher Doesn’t Expect Immediate Wins, Stresses Development

Michael Schumacher at Valencia

While Michael Schumacher was conservative in his appraisal of his first full day of testing at Valencia on Wednesday, he nevertheless was candid about how pleased he was to be back in the cockpit.  As reported in Autosport, when asked if he was happy about his return to F1, he said, “Yes, I’m really happy. I had a good first day, with a rather short run on Monday. Today we had a full day. A little hydraulic leak has stopped us right now. But all in all, very positive feedback. The car is running very smoothly, very nicely. I’m very positive.”

Mercedes GP principal Ross Brawn had earlier praised the level of technical feedback that Schumacher is able to bring to his partnership with Brawn and the team’s engineers.  Said Brawn, “Michael is very precise in describing what’s going on and what he wants, and what he feels is needed. He is very clear on what he feels and what he thinks the direction is for the changes to come. That has always been notable about Michael in his career.”

Brawn went on to compare Schumacher to last year’s drivers for the Brackley squad, saying, “That is probably the most noticeable difference but both Rubens (Barrichello) and Jenson (Button) gave very good information on the car, so it was never a problem. It’s that Michael is perhaps more precise in his opinions and what is happening.”

When Schumacher was asked if he’d been able to suggest any improvements to the car as of yet, he smiled and said, “That’s what I’m here for.”

Yet Schumacher stopped short of predicting that the Mercedes would snag early wins this season, the way last year’s car did, under the Brawn banner.  “I’m thinking we will be competitive,” he said, “but whether this is a winning car straightaway or not, that’s another story. For me that’s not so important – it’s a long season. We need to be there and taking points from the beginning. I wouldn’t expect to be winning right from the beginning. It wasn’t something that I was aiming for and expecting to be the case. But we need to be strong enough on development.”

Even if the team faces a development challenge, as all teams inevitably do, Schumacher is obviously happy to be where he is.  When asked if he was having fun, he replied simply, “Absolutely.”

He also indicated that he had become acclimated to driving again more quickly than expected.  “Actually it’s been much easier than I anticipated,” he said. “I thought it would need a bit more time but it went pretty quickly.”

He also alluded to the fact that he’d been able to recapture the thrill he’d felt when he was younger, at the beginning of his career. “I’m always excited,” he said, “that is the case. As you can imagine after three years, it’s a new challenge and a new experience. A new team and a different environment. There are lots of interesting things that I’m experiencing, and they are good fun.”

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