Flaw in Mercedes design was slowing Schumacher UPDATE (GMM) Team boss Ross Brawn has confirmed that Michael Schumacher will race a different Mercedes chassis at next weekend's Spanish grand prix.
We reported after the recent Chinese grand prix that not only will the seven time world champion have a new development package at Barcelona featuring a longer wheelbase, the physical chassis will also be completely new.
The 41-year-old struggled significantly in Shanghai, and Mercedes' Norbert Haug acknowledged that his actual chassis may have been damaged throughout the first four races of 2010.
"It's not a new chassis per se, it's a chassis we used in testing," Brawn confirmed on Monday, at a fundraising event for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution on the banks of the River Thames.
"The one he had got damaged during the first few races and we repaired it as best we could at the races.
"But now we are back at base we are going to reintroduce the test chassis and he will be using that in Barcelona," he is quoted as saying by The Guardian, and the German news agency SID reported the same news on Monday. 04/26/10 (GMM) Mercedes is modifying its 2010 car to better suit Michael Schumacher's driving style.
While the seven time world champion has struggled with the W01 on his return to the sport, teammate Nico Rosberg is second in the world championship after finishing on the podium at the recent Chinese grand prix.
But team boss Ross Brawn is worried about the car's basic characteristics.
"New regulations have made the front tires narrower, which means you need to generate more downforce at the front than before," he is quoted as saying by The Times.
"Michael needs to be able to lean heavily on the front of the car to make his driving style work," Brawn added.
The front of the car has therefore been the focus of Mercedes' big upgrade for Barcelona, featuring a longer wheelbase.
"We've got a modification of the car coming for Barcelona which puts us into a better range for the weight distribution we can achieve," Brawn confirmed.
But Niki Lauda thinks it should be up to Schumacher to adapt to the car.
"He must change his driving style as quickly as possible," the former triple world champion is quoted as saying by Blick newspaper.
"The new formula one with the much narrower front tires obviously surprised him, while Rosberg has had no problems and is doing a sensational job," added Lauda.
Schumacher's former title rival Mika Hakkinen is backing the 41-year-old to bounce back and even win a race in 2010, but he also concedes the sport's famously fickle lack of patience.
"F1 will not give him any time," he told Bild am Sonntag newspaper. "It knows no mercy and allows you no excuses."