Michael Schumacher is unconcerned by the level of soft tyre degradation experienced by the Mercedes team during the final pre-season Formula 1 test of 2012 at Barcelona this week.
Schumacher suffered one-lap drop-off of 3.3 and 3.7 seconds across stints of 10 and 11 laps respectively during the afternoon, while the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton's McLaren lost just 2.5 and 2.8sec in longer stints on the same rubber - and while track conditions were similar. However, when asked if there were any concerns about the amount of drop-off being experienced from the soft tyres, Schumacher said: "No".
While the 43-year-old German ruled himself out of the battle for wins this year, he does believe that the team is in a stronger position heading into a new season than at any other point since the team was re-established in the winter of 2009/10.
"I don't think that's possible for us to fight for first position," he said. "Already Red Bull is quite strong. It's a separate thing to be first position. But after this it's a pretty tight field. With this testing knowledge and not knowing everything in detail, and how much fuel people are running, it's very difficult to assume and assess what that means.
"The good thing is that we've definitely worked on the car and improved it; it's always a question of how much we've moved forward though. [Compared to the last two years], we're certainly much better prepared."