Ross Brawn is at a total loss to explain Michael Schumacher’s struggles in Shanghai at last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.

Having been slightly outpaced by his Mercedes GP team-mate Nico Rosberg, the seven-time World Champion was some seven-tenths slower than his compatriot in qualifying.

The race was little better: while Nico played his strategy cleverly and brought the car onto his second podium finish with the team, Schumacher languished in the changeable conditions in which he usually excels, and finished a disappointing 10th, making four pit stops along the way.

Brawn & Schumacher

The veteran’s lack of pace has been put down to a possible chassis flaw, according to Mercedes’ Norbert Haug, who confirmed that new W01 would be supplied to Schumacher at the next race in Spain.

Brawn, who has worked successfully with Schumacher in their days at Benetton and Ferrari and who has been instrumental in all of Michael’s seven world titles, reluctantly admitted that Schumacher’s “pace is a problem”.

Speaking with Auto Motor und Sport, he said: "Michael’s problems are difficult to understand.

"It’s not the difficult corners, but the technically simple ones [where he does not have the speed].

"Until now he has been getting closer and closer to Nico, so what happened in China is totally against the trend," he added.

This won’t do anything to ease the rising groundswell of criticism from the tabloid press!

[Image via GP Update]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.