Brawn: W03 car is a ‘condundrum’

By on Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ross Brawn

FIA - Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn has admitted that the team has yet to fully understand its new W03 car after both third-place starter Michael Schumacher and seventh on the grid Nico Rosber both endured a difficult Malaysian Grand Prix.

Following a clash with Romain Grosjean, Schumacher dropped to 16th. The seven-time champion fought his way back up the order following the restart but, struggling on both intermediates and dry tyres, he was unable to make an impact on the major points positions and finished the race in tenth place. Rosberg, too, suffered from tyre degradation and drifted towards the back of the field before a late-race resurgence took him up to 13th.

“It’s a very disappointing end to what had been such a positive weekend here in Malaysia,” said Brawn. “Clearly, we have a conundrum with this car that we have to unravel. “After such an encouraging qualifying session, and indeed the fuel runs that we did on Friday, we struggled to get the tyres to work properly in the race today,” he added. “There were little windows when we seemed to get them working and other times where we fell out of them completely.

“I don’t believe that we are abusing the tyres, just not using them properly, and it's a problem that we have to solve if we are going to move forward with the car.” As for Schumacher, the German admitted that he had been powerless to make progress after the restart. "After the re-start, the pace wasn't that far off but it was the same for a lot of teams so there was no way to gain positions,” he said. “It’s clear from today that there is still a lot of work for us to do to take our pace from qualifying into the race. But this will not be done from one race to another, it will take some time, and we need to give it that time.”

Rosberg added: “I had a good restart and because of a good strategy I was in fourth position. But then I had problems with my intermediate tyres; the degradation was very high which forced me to do another pit stop for a new set. We are strong in qualifying but not yet in the race, and we need to work on that before the next race in China.”

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