Mercedes GP CEO Nick Fry says the team sees no reason to suggest that Michael Schumacher is having trouble adapting to the current generation of Formula 1 cars and tires, and reckons it is just a matter of Mercedes improving its pace to allow the drivers to start winning.
Schumacher made a low-key return to F1 last weekend with seventh place on the grid and sixth at the finish. He was slightly slower than teammate Nico Rosberg throughout the weekend. Fry denied suggestions that Schumacher was finding the 2010 front tires ill-suited to his driving style.
"Listening to the discussions that are going on within the team, I don't actually detect any great difference in feedback between him and Nico," said Fry. "I think they both know what they want to do to improve the car, and I think they are consistent in their views. There is nothing I have heard that is particular to Michael. But the encouraging thing is that they have got a to do list."
Fry did reserve special praise for how well Rosberg had coped with the challenge of partnering Schumacher, however:
"I have been incredibly impressed with Nico's approach right from the moment that he knew Michael was joining the team," he said. "It doesn't seem ever to have particularly fazed him. He has taken it in his stride and although sometimes the focus is on Michael, it doesn't seem to perturb him whatsoever. He has gotten on and done his job. He has proven again how quick he is, and I think he will continue to improve."
Fry is confident that the combination of Rosberg, Schumacher and team boss Ross Brawn will ensure that Mercedes swiftly closes the slight gap to the leaders.
"Ross sees that there were a lot of areas where we could work with Nico to not only improve the car, but also improve his personal performance," said Fry. "I am very encouraged. I think it is a good team, the drivers seem to work together well and I think we are going away from [Bahrain] knowing we have work to do but far from downhearted. We have plenty of upside potential and that is what counts.
"It is going to be a long year, and I absolutely believe that we have the people, and the equipment under Ross' guidance to come out of this very well at the end of the year."