Mercedes GP will left to ponder where they’ve gone wrong after the team’s worst showing in qualifying this season, with Nico Rosberg starting from 12th spot, and Michael Schumacher three further places behind.
Speaking with Germany’s Sky television, Rosberg quipped: “This is just as bad as Montreal. It’s a huge disappointment, because it was said that our season is just beginning here. Our aero package did not function in the way it should have.
“We are not going backwards, but we’re not going forwards. That’s the problem,” he added.
Rumours were doing the rounds that this update would be the defending Constructors’ champion’s final roll of the dice before it abandoned the W01 project and concentrated its efforts on the 2011 car.
“We are pushing very hard to develop the car and sometimes in pushing so hard, you trip over," team boss Ross Brawn said after qualifying. "We need to reflect, assess and see what our next steps should be.”
Schumacher’s poor showing after a woeful weekend in Canada won’t have done anything to raise his stock in F1 circles, with the seven-time World Champion languishing behind his team-mate by six-tenths of a second.
Even Brawn – one of Schumacher’s staunchest critics – admitted he was disappointed with the German’s performance so far this weekend.
“We’re a bit disappointed at the moment. Michael would admit he’s not where he wants to be.
“We’re seeing signs of progress in some races but not in others, but we’ve not had a great car this year, which has not helped him,” he added.
“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 concluded.
Although he admitted he was far from happy with his qualifying performance this weekend, Schumacher tried to assure the press that he in on track with his three-year goal to rise to the top of the F1 championship once again.
“Come on guys, I [have been around] long enough … and I have had to deal with much worse pain,” he said. “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 programme. 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 frustrated by the constant negativity by certain circles of the press, he answered: “I know what is going on, and I care for what is realistic and what I know, what I have to worry about.”
[Original images via AUTOSPORT]