London: Mercedes missed the mark in the first two races of the Formula One season but they know what went wrong and should do better in China this week, according to team principal Ross Brawn.
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher and fellow-German Nico Rosberg scored just one point between them in Australia and Malaysia despite the Mercedes showing good pace in qualifying. Schumacher started third on the grid in Malaysia but ended up 10th.
Brawn said in a team analysis on Thursday that the problems were related to getting the Pirelli tyres to work in the different conditions.
“In Melbourne (the season-opener), 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,” he explained.
“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.”
Brawn said Mercedes had too narrow a ‘window’ for getting the best out of the car and had to broaden that and build in more tolerance.
“Our analysis since Malaysia has given us an even better understanding, and we have plans and actions in place to improve our tyre management,” said the Briton. “We clearly have a reasonably quick car – we have shown that in qualifying – and now we have to convert our speed into race performance.”
Schumacher’s 91st and last win to date came in Shanghai with Ferrari in 2006.
“I’ve never had much luck in Shanghai, apart from my win in 2006; however that could change this year,” he said in a team preview.
“In the first two races of 2012, we didn’t manage to maintain our qualifying pace in race conditions. We’ve been working intensively on this, so that we can offer our fans a strong performance in China.”