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Page last updated at 16:52 GMT, Thursday, 6 May 2010 17:52 UK

Michael Schumacher not fazed by problems on F1 return

Spanish Grand Prix
Venue: BarcelonaDate: Sunday 9 May Start: 1300 BST Coverage: Live on BBC One, Red Button, Radio 5 live, online and mobiles
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Michael Schumacher

By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport, Circuit de Catalunya

Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher says he is "absolutely confident" he will be able to return to competitiveness despite his poor start to the season.

The seven-time champion, back in F1 after a three-year retirement, insisted he was not discouraged by his inability to match team-mate Nico Rosberg so far.

"I didn't expect to come here and blast everyone away," Schumacher said ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

"It's a process - I'm totally confident it's going in the right direction."

Schumacher arrives in Spain on the back of the worst showing of his comeback.

ANDREW BENSON'S F1 BLOG

After edging closer to Rosberg's pace over the first three races, Schumacher took a step backwards at the last grand prix in China.

He qualified more than 0.7 seconds slower than Rosberg and finished 10th, 50 seconds behind his team-mate, who was third.

But Schumacher believes that performance was an anomaly.

"In China certainly my performance wasn't good," he said, "and I think it stuck out there in particular whereas other races were on the right trend and I'm very optimistic that it will go in the right direction.

"I'm pretty quiet and relaxed about what is going on. I know the car does not perfectly suit me right now but it's a process and the process is going fine.

"It's like stock markets, they have a trend upwards, and then sometimes they have a reset. China was my reset and we'll see where it goes from there."

Schumacher's performance in Shanghai raised questions in some quarters about whether he was wise to return to F1 after such a long absence.

But he said he had no regrets about his decision.

"The main point is not to have a nice story in the media, or be criticised," he said.

Michael Schumacher

Schumacher frustrated after difficult race (UK users only)

"I came back because I'm enjoying it. Things will improve. It's just the pure joy I'm looking for.

"Naturally, the joy is higher if you win races, and in China I was very disappointed and angry at myself. But things will be different."

Schumacher has so far struggled to get the best from a car that does not suit his driving style, but Mercedes have introduced an upgrade for this weekend's race that should help him.

The 41-year-old prefers a car that changes direction quickly, but so far this year the Mercedes has suffered from understeer - when the driver struggles to get the front of the car to turn in.

Although the changes to the Mercedes - which include a longer wheelbase and improved aerodynamics - should make the car more to his liking, Schumacher was reluctant to say that they would automatically solve all his problems.

"Some like to see it as: now I have the car, and now I have to perform, and if not, then blah, blah, blah. I am less thinking this way," he said.

"It's going to be the first time working [with the car] this way, and only afterwards [will] we understand what is the positive and negative about it. I just feel very positive that we will follow the trend we saw in Malaysia and not in China."

Nico Rosberg
Team-mate Nico Rosberg has had a better season so far than Schumacher

Rosberg said he, too had been struggling with the Mercedes's inherent characteristics, adding: "All the changes are fundamental changes that will make the car go faster regardless of who drives it."

Mercedes are hopeful that the upgrade will enable them to close the gap on their rivals at the front - the team have so far been behind Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren on outright pace.

But all the teams have arrived in Spain with significant modifications to their cars and Schumacher said it remained to be seen where that would leave them.

"We obviously have a new update for the car that we feel quite good about," he said.

"Naturally, we should improve compared to the other teams if they stay where they are but we don't expect that so it will be interesting to see how much the other teams have been able to upgrade their car compared to ours."



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see also
Hamilton hails salvaged title bid
06 May 10 |  Formula 1
Give Schumacher time, says Webber
30 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Revised car could help Schumacher
26 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Ecclestone tips Schumacher to win
21 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Schumacher frustrated by struggle
18 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Schumacher insists he can compete
29 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Judge me on results - Schumacher
25 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
Schumacher keen to 'raise game'
12 Mar 10 |  Formula 1


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