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."
Ireland v England Six Nations match preview: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
Chelsea vs Tottenham combined XI: Hugo Lloris or Thibaut Courtois? Willian or Christian Eriksen? Who makes the final cut?
Manchester United vs Sunderland match report: Wayne Rooney scores twice but referee Roger East sends off Wes Brown instead of John O'Shea
Manchester United player ratings: Just how bad was Angel Di Maria to be withdrawn at half-time?
Brock Lesnar fuels speculation over his WWE future with appearance at UFC event
- 1 Michelle Rodriguez: Fast & Furious actor apologises after telling 'minorities' to stop taking on 'white' roles
- 2 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face the death penalty
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Robert Mugabe eats a zoo for 'obscene' 91st birthday party
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'