MICHAEL SCHUMACHER'S BROTHER has added another voice to claims the 41-year-old German might not match the pace of the sister Mercedes car this weekend in Bahrain.
As the racing world gears up for the return to formula one of the seven time world champion, his manager Willi Weber warned this week that Schumacher does not enjoy the W01's tendency to understeer.
And team boss Ross Brawn said: "Nico (Rosberg) has felt a little better in the car (than Schumacher) in his test days."
Ralf Schumacher told Germany's Bild newspaper: "I've heard that Nico is getting along with the car perhaps a little better than my brother. But Michael is working.
"He does not like understeering cars, unlike some other drivers, such as Button, for example, who worked with the team last year," he added.
Ecclestone Says Budget Of New Teams Insufficient
The struggles of F1's small new teams is proof that EUR45 million is not enough to run a competitive team, according to Bernie Ecclestone.
Ferrari recently slammed Lotus and Virgin for lagging the timesheets in the February tests, while HRT is yet to turn a single lap.
"Ferrari is right," F1 chief executive Ecclestone is quoted as saying by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
When the three new teams signed up for the 2010 season, they believed former FIA president Max Mosley's rules would afford them advantages for sticking to a low budget limit.
The subsequent political war, led by Ferrari's Luca di Montezemolo, means they are now pitching their small budgets against the might of the establishment.
Ecclestone admits that the 45m cap "would have given them a chance".
"I always warned that a budget limit would not work. Now the new teams find that their budgets are not sufficient," the Briton added.
The garage doors of the new Spanish team HRT, whose 2010 car is yet to turn a lap, were firmly closed on Wednesday.
Bruno Senna admitted that Friday will be devoted to mainly installation laps.
"We can think about the setup early on Saturday," said the Brazilian.
"I just hope we can get the car onto the track and eliminate as many problems as possible."
Horner Admits 'Danger' Of New Teams' Slow Debuts
Bosses of the top outfits McLaren and Red Bull have issued differing views about the influx of small new teams in formula one.
After Ferrari issued a scathing denunciation of Virgin, Lotus and HRT, McLaren's managing director Jonathan Neale on Tuesday called on the sport to support its newcomers.
"We have to try and get new teams off the ground and stabilise them as quickly as possible because we need it in view of the disappointing (team) losses," he said.
But Neale did express some concern about the Spanish outfit HRT, whose rookie lineup Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok will give the 2010 car its track debut on Friday.
"I'm sure that the FIA will look very closely at it and if there are big gaps in closing speeds and plenty of red flags, then they'll take the necessary actions," he said.
Former McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen, who has switched for 2010 to Lotus, said it is "great to hear" his ex team is supportive.
However, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was less diplomatic than Neale.
"We will just try to stay out of their way," he is quoted as saying by the Times. "The danger is the time difference is going to be so big - up to five seconds a lap - and the difference in the closing speeds is massive.
"The potential for them to cause an incident is reasonably high," added Horner.
Timo Glock, who last year raced for Toyota but has switched to Virgin, said the criticisms do not concern him.
"I don't care," he told the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper.
"I think that for the fans and for formula one, it is a good thing if new teams can come in," Glock added.