The Mercedes team have predicted that they will be able to get more out of their new car at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia this weekend, after struggling with a number of issues during the Australian GP last weekend.The German marque had been considered one of the dark horses at the start of the 2012 season, but their opening race was a disaster, with the team failing to score a single point.
Michael Schumacher retired from the race early with a gearbox failure while running third, while Nico Rosberg suffered tyre degradation issues, and had a late clash with Sergio Perez to eventually finish 12th.
But ahead of this weekend's Sepang race, Schumacher said that he was still certain that the team could get "in the mix" in 2012, starting with the Malaysian race.
"After the disappointment of how the first race in Melbourne turned out, I am flying to Malaysia with a big sense of anticipation, because we saw in Australia that our car is capable of putting us in the mix," the seven-time champion grinned.
"Of course, we haven't forgotten that the circuit in Melbourne is not really representative of the true competitive picture, but nevertheless the car gives me a good feeling for the season ahead."
He added: "Sepang will be interesting for everybody because it will be the first clue to the real relative strengths of all the cars. I'm looking forward to it."
Team mate Nico Rosberg added that he was also hopeful of the confines of the Sepang track suiting the team better than the street track at Albert Park.
"The circuit has two long straights which should suit us this year, and the conditions will be very demanding as always due to the high heat and humidity," he mused.
"I'm confident that we can improve our performance here, and we will have a successful weekend in front of all our Malaysian supporters."
Team boss Ross Brawn added: "Despite a positive start, our first race weekend of the season in Australia did not turn out as we would have wished.
"There has been, and will continue to be, a lot of hard work done before we take to the track again in Malaysia. We have a fundamentally good car, now it is up to us to optimise its performance and achieve its potential on track."
Meanwhile, Mercedes motorsport boss Norberg Haug added that the team would be particularly looking to minimise their tyre issues from the Melbourne race.
"Nico's lap times were affected by higher levels of tyre degradation than ourselves and Pirelli had expected from testing and the practice sessions in Melbourne," he lamented.
"Our team will be working hard to understand and, where possible, correct this before the next race in Malaysia."
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