Michael Schumacher and his Mercedes team plan to gamble on a heavily-revised 'new' car next week in a bid to re-ignite his F1 comeback at the Spanish Grand Prix — and save their season.
The 41-year-old seven-times world champion has been outpaced and outraced by his Mercedes team-mate fellow-German Nico Rosberg in all four of the season-opening flyaway races.
But, according to his long-time friend and team boss Ross Brawn, he remains determined to defy his critics — and the march of time — with a fresh bid to recapture the old magic in Barcelona.
Brawn, the bespectacled boffin who has been the pit-wall maestro behind all seven of Schumacher's world titles and who master-minded Briton Jenson Button's title success last year, said: “It's foolish to say Michael is where he wants to be, but he's very determined to succeed.
“I think these frustrations are just going to make him try even harder. We've not had a fantastic start, but we are still in there because no-one else is really dominating and there is plenty of opportunity yet.”
Few observers expected to see Schumacher so comprehensively upstaged by a driver 17 years his junior in a new team built around the Red Baron's comeback this season, but Rosberg has done so in dazzling style.
“Nico's very close to winning a race,” said Brawn of the 24-year-old son of original flying Finn and former champion Keke Rosberg.
“He just needs things to fall into place, but that will come. I'm sure he will definitely do it and I think Michael will when we get the car sorted.
“He is so determined and you can see that in his driving. The bits where it's not quite working are not because of (lack of) skill or bravery, it's because the technique needs tuning and the car needs tuning.”
Remarkably, Rosberg has scored 50 points to Schumacher's 10 in four outings in Bahrain, Australia, Malaysia and China, but Brawn believes that a new chassis, with aerodynamic revisions, will assist the former champion in regaining the form of his halcyon days.