Michael Schumacher insists he is not getting disheartened by his continued frustrations in Formula 1, despite slumping to his worst qualifying performance of the season in Valencia.
The Mercedes GP driver could manage no better than 15th, struggling with traffic, brakes and tires, as his comeback continues to fail to deliver the front-running success that he and the outfit had hoped for. But although admitting he was not happy with the situation he found himself in at the European Grand Prix, Schumacher said that such trouble had to be viewed in the context of his three-year plan to triumph.
"Come on guys – I have been around long enough and I have had to deal with much worse pain," Schumacher told reporters in Valencia on Saturday evening. "I am not here with the short-term view that I just go race-to-race and I have to have a single race. It is something we are programming on.
"From my point of view, I have a three-year program. Obviously, we thought we would be closer, nearer and in a better situation this year, but that is not the case. So we have to understand and I have to work my way through as I did in the past and that is what we are here for. It is part of, in a way, the process – and the joy comes from a different point of view.
"Sure I am not happy and excited about being P15, that is natural. But once the progress comes in, and I am sure it will come in, then you get rewarded."
When asked if he was hurt by the criticisms he has faced in the media, Schumacher said: "I know what is going on, and I care for what is realistic and what I know, what I have to worry about."
Mercedes GP team principal Ross Brawn was equally philosophical about the situation.
"It is a curious thing, but is it pain that makes the pleasure so much better," he said. "Having been in this business so long you know you are going to have days like this, and you know you are going to have periods like this. And it is impossible to be consistently at the top, consistently the fastest. You just can't do it.
"These are the periods when you have to show your strengths – to make the right moves and do the right things to get out of it. But it is the pain we will put ourselves through because it is the nature of the business. If you cannot handle this pain you should not be involved."
Brawn also played down wild speculation that had appeared in certain sections of the Internet that the team had approached Robert Kubica about a potential deal for 2011.
"We haven't spoken with Robert Kubica," said Brawn. "I spoke to him at Brawn GP a year ago when we looking at the future, but we haven't spoken to him since then, so there are no discussions going on.
"We are very happy with Michael. We have to sort the car out, that is the main issue, and we are confident when we get the technical package together our drivers are going to succeed."