Ross Brawn says he was not surprised at all by how quickly Michael Schumacher got on the pace on his return to official Formula 1 duty at Valencia this week.
Schumacher showed he had lost none of his speed when he set the third-fastest time during his afternoon run for Mercedes GP on Monday – his first outing in a contemporary F1 car for more than one year.
Although some onlookers were left impressed by Schumacher's performance, as he edged out teammate Nico Rosberg, Brawn said the seven-time champion had delivered exactly what he expected.
"It would have been more of a surprise for me if he hadn't been where he is today, so it was just confirmation really of what we both thought, that Michael should be competitive," said Brawn about Schumacher's performances. "He was very enthusiastic. It was good to see the enthusiasm."
Although Schumacher ended the day six tenths of a second faster than Rosberg, Brawn did not think that their performances told the full story, especially as Rosberg was struggling with his seat position.
"I don't think Nico's was representative because of the difficulties he had in the car and I wasn't surprised [by Michael's performance], but it was good to see," he said. "We all know how quickly Michael used to do it. We are all optimistic, as I am sure that he is, that there is a lot more to come. He has had one or two sessions but he hasn't driven a Formula 1 car seriously for three years so it is pretty encouraging."
Brawn also offered a fascinating insight into what Schumacher can bring to Mercedes GP in its quest to capture the World Championship this year.
"Michael is very precise in describing what's going on and what he wants, and what he feels is needed," he said. "He is very clear on what he feels and what he thinks the direction is for the changes to come.
"That has always been notable about Michael in his career. That is probably the most noticeable difference but both Rubens (Barrichello) and Jenson (Button) gave very good information on the car, so it was never a problem. It's that Michael is perhaps more precise in his opinions and what is happening."
He added: "It is a constant process, it is not a specific thing. You are constantly trying to develop the car and understand what it is doing. At the moment he is fairly happy with the car and has not really pinpointed any areas we need to work on but I am sure as he gets into it more, and starts to find the limits of it more, then he will have stronger opinions about the areas we need to improve."