Horner jokes after Mercedes' Melbourne struggle

By on Monday, March 28, 2011

Mar.28 (GMM) Christian Horner poked fun at Mercedes after the German team's bad start to the 2011 season.

As the paddock took shape last week in Melbourne, Michael Schumacher predicted the W02 car might be Red Bull's closest challenger this year.

But the Brackley-built car was in fact two seconds off the pace in qualifying before the seven time world champion retired "for safety reasons" with a damaged floor.

"The team said 'stop, it makes no sense, it's too dangerous'," Schumacher told Bild newspaper.

Teammate Nico Rosberg also stopped after being struck by Rubens Barrichello's Williams.

"Mercedes was lucky to have failed cars, so that nobody could see how slow they were," Red Bull team boss Horner joked to the German newspaper.

Schumacher admitted that Mercedes lacked speed in Melbourne.

"I can't tell you how good we would have been in the race because my car was damaged in the third corner. But it definitely would not have been easy.

"After the encouraging winter tests we came here with very different expectations," he said.

Mercedes also had problems with its KERS units in Australia, but competition director Norbert Haug urged calm.

"To panic or to rush would be the ideal recipe for failure," Welt newspaper quotes him as saying.


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