A bullish Michael Schumacher believes is would be premature for anyone to suggest that Mercedes GP cannot be competitive in the 2011 season, despite the team’s Schumacher is confident Mercedes GP will bounce back at the Malaysian Grand Prix troubled start to the championship campaign at Australia.

Having headed the timesheets at the final pre-season test, expectations were high when the Silver Arrows hit Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit, but the new W02 contenders never looked completely settled on the street circuit, with both drivers slightly off the pace in qualifying and retiring from the race.

It was the team’s first double-DNF, but Schumacher has promised that the outfit will bounce back at next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, which is the home race for the team’s title sponsor, Petronas.

“There is absolutely no doubt we want to do better than in the opening race, which was a disappointment for all of us,” Schumacher is quoted as saying.

“We clearly see that as a challenge and it is much too early to write us off. Everybody in the team remains positive and is in a fighting mood. So I expect a better weekend for us to come; a weekend we can build on.”

As part of the team’s pre-race build-up, Rosberg echoed his senior team-mate’s comments and added that the cars could spring some surprises at Sepang.

“Melbourne is a unique circuit and we know that we will have a much better understanding of our level of performance after the next races,” he is quoted.

“I think we can surprise people next Sunday. We know that the car is fast from the last test in Barcelona, so now we have to work on proving that potential.”

[Original image via Flickr]

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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.