Bahrain GP: Mercedes GP preview
5 March, 2010
Mar.5 (YF1) The much-anticipated 2010 Formula One Season gets underway in Bahrain next week and marks the return of a Mercedes-Benz works team to the sport for the first time in 55 years. The Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team go into the season with the prestige of being the current Constructors’ World Champions, led by Team Principal Ross Brawn, and with one of the most exciting driver line-ups on the grid as seven-times World Champion Michael Schumacher returns to the sport to partner the talented Nico Rosberg.
Michael Schumacher: “Finally the season will start! I feel like a child looking forward to Christmas. The decision to make my comeback feels like a long time ago now and I can hardly wait for the season to get underway in Bahrain. It’s funny to think that I will be competing in Formula One again when just a few months ago, I would have declined the opportunity categorically. But sometimes things change and the right circumstances come together. I feel fresher than I have for many years. I am perfectly prepared physically and most importantly, my energy is back completely. When I retired from racing in 2006, my batteries were simply empty. Now they are totally recharged and I am ready for the challenge. It is the competition at the highest level that only Formula One offers which has provided the temptation for me. It is always difficult to predict the form in pre-season testing, this year more than ever, but the final test in Barcelona proved to us that we should be competitive. We know that we will have more new parts in Bahrain which should bring extra performance to the car. It’s important to be in the leading group from the start of the season and I am confident that we will be there.”
Nico Rosberg: “The build-up to a new Formula One season is always an exciting time, particularly when you have a new team to settle into and a brand new car to get used to. It has been a really nice process integrating into Mercedes GP Petronas. Everyone has been very welcoming and I feel very much at home here already. Our pre-season testing programme has gone pretty well in February. 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. 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.”
Ross Brawn: “Everyone at Mercedes GP Petronas is proud to be representing the rich motorsport pedigree of Mercedes-Benz as we start the season as the first Mercedes works team for over half a century. In addition, knowing that we go into the new season as the reigning World Champions gives the team confidence and a fierce pride to defend our position. However this is a new season and a new challenge. We had a strong pre-season testing programme with the MGP W01 but we are not quite reached the level of preparation that we would have liked prior to Bahrain. The car shows promise and we have a strong development programme planned for the season but there is a lot of hard work ahead to ensure that we will be in the fight for the title. I am very pleased with how our new drivers Michael and Nico have settled into the team and developed a close working relationship. They have really pushed the development of the car throughout testing and they will push each other to achieve better results on the race track. This season should be a fantastic one for the fans with so many talented drivers competing and what is likely to be a very close fight for the title between the top teams and that can only be good for our sport.”
Norbert Haug: “The Bahrain Grand Prix as the first race of the 2010 Formula One season marks the beginning of a new era for Mercedes-Benz. 55 years after the last race of the Silver Arrows works team, Mercedes GP Petronas will start to continue this tradition. In preparation for our first season, we have covered over 6300 kilometres during 15 test days from 1 to 28 February. 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 and Michael are fully prepared to get on top of our job and fulfill our targets which are winning races and fighting for world championships.”