Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug believes that improvements to the team's car, plus progress from Schumacher himself, will ensure positive progress during the year ahead.
"He will have a better year when our car is competitive and I think we have every reason to believe that we have a car that will be a good step forward compared to last year," said Haug after his team unveiled its new W02 at Valencia on Tuesday. "The guys have worked very hard and did an exceptional job."
Haug reckons, however, that the only way Mercedes GP and Schumacher will be able to manage expectations surrounding the team will be to deliver hard results on track.
"I think you cannot manage the expectation," he said. "The only way to manage it is to get the results.
"If you look at last year's 19 races and, if you look at various practice sessions, qualifying and the race, all in all there were 95 opportunities, practice 1, practice 2, practice 3, qualifying and race speed. If you calculate, it was something like Nico – he was probably 60 times quicker and Michael was around 30 times quicker. But, of course, the results count at the end. And it is fair to say that Michael needed to adapt again.
"It was a different F1 than he was used to before, with different tires, but there were improvements and I think there were some highlights. In Barcelona [for example], it was the fifth race and he was ahead of the reigning champion [Jenson] Button, and that is not bad for a start.
"Of course, all in all, things did not fit together in the right way. But managing expectation is only possible with delivering results. You cannot continue to explain and explain. We don't want to use excuses, but the results are what counts."
Haug also praised the form of Schumacher's teammate Nico Rosberg, who he reckoned proved throughout 2010 – and will show again this year – that he is one of the best F1 drivers.
"We do not know how good Nico is at the end of the day, until we supply a winning car to our drivers. But Nico really extracted what was extractable from our car on most of the occasions. You cannot do that at each and every race, but I think he did an excellent job. He looks to be one of the best drivers around these days."