Mercedes F1 boss Ross Brawn says that there is every reason to believe that the sport will see its eighth different winner this weekend in Valencia, tipping his own driver Michael Schumacher to be a possible victor along with the Lotus drivers.
“With the tyre situation predictions are very difficult, but I expect Valencia to be a good track for us and I expect us to be competitive as we have been at most of the races this season,” said Brawn in an interview on Mercedes You Tube Channel.
“There’s every opportunity that at the next race in Valencia we’re going to have an eighth winner. There are some very quick drivers in very quick cars who have not won a race yet – think of Michael in our car. The Lotus is a good car and they haven’t won, Sauber have had some great results and they’ve not won. So I think we’re going to see and eighth winner and it’s going to be amazing.”
Brawn acknowledged that the finishing record of Michael Schumacher is a source of “huge frustration” to the team. The German has only finished twice in seven starts and has just two points on the board. When they were together at Ferrari in the early 2000s, Brawn introduced a high level quality control system which meant that Schumacher suffered very few reliability issues.
In Montreal Schumacher retired once again with what Brawn reveals was a hydraulic coupling issue, which jammed his DRS wing open. The team has modified the part for this weekend’s race.
“It’s peculiar we have had one car do every lap of every race and one with so many problems. Our standards are very high,” he said. “We haven’t changed anything or let our standards slip on any way, so it has been highly frustrating that we have had so many problems.”
Research by German magazine Auto Motor und Sport shows that while the Mercedes has been the second fastest car in qualifying with average Q2 lap times less than two hundredths of a second off the average pace of the McLaren, which has been the quickest qualifying car so far. But in the race, the story is very different with Mercedes almost a second slower per lap on average than the Red Bull, which has been the fastest race car, according to the research, based on an average of all the lap times. This is a harder figure to calculate than the Q2 time, because some teams have gone for ‘slower’ strategies with fewer stops on occasions so lap times will not be directly comparable in all cases.
However Brawn points out that despite the promise not being fulfilled, “Nico is only one race win away from leading the world championship,” which shows how wide open this championship is due to the spread of different winners and podium finishers.
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