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Michael Schumacher backed by Mercedes team chief

Mercedes CEO Nick Fry (left) and Michael Schumacher
Fry (left) defended Schumacher's scrappy 11th place in Montreal

Mercedes have defended Michael Schumacher and insist the 41-year-old will improve after his drive to 11th place in Canada was criticised.

Schumacher tangled with Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Robert Kubica's Renault but was absolved by stewards.

"From inside the team we see things in a totally different perspective," said Mercedes chief executive Nick Fry.

"So we're very comfortable with Michael's performance and I can't see any reason why he won't come good."

BBC analyst Martin Brundle described Schumacher's performance in Montreal as "the worst race I had ever seen him drive".

Schumacher was referred to the stewards after he knocked Massa's front wing off in the closing stages of the race but escaped punishment.

His run-in with Massa came after a wheel-to-wheel battle with Kubica, which saw both of them plunge onto the grass.

That move ultimately ruined Schumacher's race strategy as he had to pit again after puncturing his right front wheel during the incident.

Michael Schumacher is chased by Robert Kubica's Renault
Schumacher and Kubica (behind) clashed in Montreal

By contrast, Nico Rosberg took the other Mercedes to sixth place with a smooth drive.

But Fry says he does not understand why Schumacher has been targeted for criticism, saying: "I'm surprised people have reached those conclusions.

"Michael was in a good position until the puncture, but when something like that happens, you get out of sequence.

"We don't really see any significant difference in performance between Nico and Michael - one is getting the breaks and the other isn't at the moment. In sport, what goes around comes around. For those who have a run of luck, that frequently comes to an end, and the opposite happens."

Schumacher, who returned to the sport this season after three years in retirement, conceded before the race in Canada that he was already turning his focus to 2011.

He said: "I don't think on my side that I'm really in a position to win the championship, it's more building up and organising things for what happens from next year onwards."


Fry also conceded that Mercedes, who won the constructors' championship as Brawn last year, are battling to match the technical developments of their rivals McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari.

"We've struggled to make the so-called f-duct rear wing work, and we don't have the special exhaust system Red Bull have," Fry added.

"If we can get both of those things on the car then we'll be in a lot better position, and in the second half of the season we will continue to work hard and improve."

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see also
Schumacher escapes Massa penalty
13 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Schumacher focused on next year
11 Jun 10 |  Formula 1

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