Brawn ready for Mercedes challenge

Mercedes GP team principal Ross Brawn fears his pride in defending the Formula One world titles may come before a fall in the season-opening grand prix in Bahrain on Sunday.

Of the four teams expected to challenge for the win in Sakhir, and ultimately this year's championships, Mercedes remain circumspect about their chances.



The returning Michael Schumacher has blown hot and cold in recent weeks as to whether Mercedes will be a contender as rumours abound of the team delivering a major upgrade for Bahrain.



If true, it could lead to the second debut of the silver arrows - 55 years after they last graced F1 - being a glorious one.



Brawn, though, who last year captured both titles in fairytale fashion with his own team prior to Mercedes' takeover, is being a little coy in relation to a repeat performance.



"Everyone at the team is proud to be representing the rich motorsport pedigree of Mercedes-Benz as we start the season as the first Mercedes works team for over half a century," said Brawn.



"In addition, knowing we go into the new season as the reigning world champions gives the team confidence and a fierce pride to defend our position.



"However, this is a new season and a new challenge.



"We had a strong pre-season testing programme with the car, but we have not quite reached the level of preparation we would have liked prior to Bahrain.



"The car shows promise and we have a strong development programme planned for the season, but there is a lot of hard work ahead to ensure we will be in the fight for the title."



Brawn's words are echoed by Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug, and it is either a case of the team hiding concerns, or they have so far kept their true cards close to their chest.



"Judging our competitiveness for the first couple of races, my impression is we are not quite where we want to be and I would not see our team in the role of favourites," said a downbeat Haug.



"Having said that, I am fully convinced the whole team and our drivers Nico (Rosberg) and Michael are fully prepared to get on top of our job and fulfil our targets which are winning races and fighting for world championships."



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice