Date: 16th March 2011 at 3:02pm
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Will former seven-time Formula One World champion Michael Schumacher return to the top step of the podium for the first time since October 2006 this season?

Unsurprisingly after Mercedes wonderful showing during the final two days of testing in Barcelona last week, Mercedes are heading into the 2011 season full of confidence.

Schumacher put his Mercedes on top of the timing sheets in Barcelona, with Rosberg not far behind despite completing far less laps.

On the final day of testing Mercedes also topped the times, albeit in the rain with only a few other cars running.

The boost Mercedes received from their recent upgrades package which included a new front wing, newly developed brake ducts and a redesigned diffuser and exhaust system was clear to see.

Up until this point the team had struggled with pace and reliability, to solve this issue the car went back to basics, their times suffered but they still managed to complete 5759 kilometres of running according to formula1.com and that is some solid work to go along with the pace that the car has now got following the upgrades.

?My feeling is a good one, The team has been working very hard over the winter to shape our car in all of the areas which had been identified by us as needing improvement. As a driver, you obviously hope for a good step forward and I think this is what we have achieved.’ Schumacher told Mercedes GP?s official website.

‘I am confident that we can compete for podium finishes, and I am hopeful we can fight for victories at some of the races. Saying that, we will only see the truth once the season gets underway, so I can hardly wait to go to Melbourne to finally see what the real picture is.?

Rosberg was also confident adding: ?The handling is better, the car has more grip, and is generally more fun to drive. We are certainly looking much better this year and our main target is to improve on our performances from last year. We have a good platform to do that.?

With Red Bull Racing and Ferrari perhaps not running short qualifying style laps at the same time as Mercedes towards the end of the final testing sessions in Barcelona, it isn’t 100% clear where Mercedes stand in comparison.

They’re obviously quick, with their times comparing well with those set by Red Bull, Ferrari and Sauber over the testing days around Barcelona?s Circuit de Catalunya, but no one will truly know if they will be competing for wins until the first practice session in Australia.

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One Reply to “Schumacher to return to winning ways in 2011?”

  • Mercedes have had a mixed testing period but I believe that they will be a lot more competitive this season. I don’t think that neither drivers will be challenging for the title but I’m confident that we will see Schumacher and Rosberg being on the podium more often

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