Mike Stevens | Dec 3, 2010

Michael Schumacher is cautious about the 2011 season after a difficult return to Formula One this year.

Following a three-year retirement, 2010 was the first full season in the German's record-setting career in which he didn't visit the podium even a single time.

He told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that he is expecting a better 2011.

"We are clearly in a better situation now because of the immense support from Mercedes," said the seven-time World Champion.

"But we cannot presume to think that we will be fighting for the championship. We will make a big leap forward and – if all goes well – win races," insisted the 41-year-old.

Schumacher revealed that there were often more problems with his W01 car this year than was apparent to the public.

"In retrospect, there were things; my floor was burned because of the exhaust being too hot, or the F-duct working in places where it should not.

"There were many (issues), resulting from the fact that we are in a restructuring phase but we still wanted to go for the title," he said.

With the recently-departed Honda's huge investment still showing, the team – then Brawn GP – won the 2009 title while reducing staff and looking for investors for the future.

"There were a lot of changes," said Schumacher, who joined the team after the Mercedes buy-in. "(In 2009), Honda was gone and there wasn't the money to hold the team together."

With the championship-winning car's successor, he recalls Singapore, where Nico Rosberg performed well and he struggled in the pack.

"A week later I got the team's analysis: my teammate and I were five degrees apart on the front wing. In Formula One, that's a world," said the former Ferrari driver, intimating that Rosberg suffered from fewer such car discrepancies.

He continued: "At Spa my F-duct didn't work, but I didn't say anything. At Suzuka it happened again -- again a problem with my car but not with Nico's.

"I said to Norbert (Haug) and Ross (Brawn) that it was time for an explanation of the reasons.

"I prefer to speak inside the team, and I am convinced that in 2011 the problems will exist no more," said Schumacher, who said he also struggled with the consistency of Bridgestone's tyres this year.

He acknowledges that his age and his retirement also played a role in his 2010 struggle.

"I was away for three years, and I'm no longer 25. The car was a compromise. With the tyre, it was difficult for me to drive how I wanted to," said Schumacher.

(GMM)

 

Toro Rosso Insists Drivers Not Changing For 2011

A source close to Toro Rosso insists the Faenza based team's race driver line-up is not changing for 2011.

The official entry list for next season released earlier this week by the FIA listed the occupants of both Ferrari-powered STR cockpits as "TBA" (to be announced).

That re-fired speculation that, with Red Bull junior Daniel Ricciardo already drafted into the lineup as a Friday driver for 2011, either Sebastien Buemi or Jaime Alguersuari might be moved out of their race seats permanently.

But the source at the Red Bull-owned team insisted that Swiss Buemi and Spaniard Alguersuari are definitely staying put.

And Toro Rosso said in a statement last week: "As already confirmed earlier this year, (the team's) driver lineup ... remains unchanged for 2011."

Indeed, 22-year-old Buemi is at the team's Italian headquarters this week.

"Nice dinner with the team in Faenza tonight," he wrote on Twitter late on Wednesday.

(GMM)

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