Brawn hoping to move on from problems11/04/2012 - 14:40:22
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn is hopeful the issues to have so far blighted the season will be cracked in China this weekend.
The Brackley-based marque have shown impressive qualifying pace at the start of the new campaign, but following the opening two races in Australia and Malaysia have scored one measly point.
Seven-time champion Michael Schumacher lined up fourth on the grid at Melbourne’s Albert Park, improving to third in Sepang, his best performance since returning to the sport in 2010.
As for team-mate Nico Rosberg, the German has started seventh on both occasions, yet only Schumacher has so far finished in the top 10, as was the case 17 days ago in Malaysia.
For a team many expected would challenge the top three of Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari this year, the yield from the season so far has been a major disappointment.
“In both races our problems have been related to getting the tyres into the correct working window,” said Brawn.
“However, at each race it was at different ends of the scale: in Melbourne, we overheated the tyres.
“It was under control on Friday, then we developed the set-up in a direction which did not prove helpful in the warmer conditions.
“In Malaysia, having done a lot of work in practice to make sure we didn’t suffer from the same problem, the cooler conditions on Sunday dropped us out of the window again.
“In the dry at the end of the race we got the car working more effectively and our pace was more respectable.
“But I still don’t feel we really got the tyres working well, gripping hard and operating at optimum temperature.”
As far as Brawn is concerned, the car operates in “too narrow a window”, with the trick now to broaden its range otherwise they will again fall flat.
After a two-week break in which to find a resolution, Brawn said: “Our qualifying speed tells us the fundamentals of performance are there.
“You can’t do the lap times if you don’t have enough downforce, horsepower or a good chassis.
“Nothing has been consciously done to focus on making the car quick in qualifying, and not so good in the race.
“Using the tyres properly is vital for success, and it depends on a number of factors, including set-up, the downforce the car is generating and the drivers’ approach.
“Within the set-up variations we can choose, we have the opportunity to find the right solution, but it’s a learning process, and we missed the mark at the first two races.
“Our analysis since Malaysia has given us an even better understanding, and we have plans and actions in place to improve our tyre management.
“We clearly have a reasonably quick car, and now we have to convert our speed into race performance.”
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