Schumacher unfazed by criticism
Michael Schumacher is adamant he remains "extremely motivated" despite the barrage of criticism he has so far faced on his return to Formula One.
The opening four grands prix have yielded a paltry 10 points for the seven-time world champion who has been out-qualified and out-raced by Mercedes GP team-mate Nico Rosberg in all of them.
These are troubling times for Schumacher, who will surely have few excuses left for his performances following Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
In the intervening extended break after last month's Chinese Grand Prix, Mercedes have purposefully worked on Schumacher's car to suit the 41-year-old, and he will be using a different chassis.
If Schumacher fails to deliver at the Circuit de Catalunya over the weekend, a track where he has won on six previous occasions, the pointed comments from his detractors will further intensify.
Schumacher is aware he has not delivered as expected, but insists he is far from deflated.
"I am hoping for a better race in Barcelona than I had in China and, of course, I would not mind having had better results so far," said Schumacher, who was a lowly 10th in Shanghai.
"However the good news is that after three years away, I am feeling extremely motivated. So I am clearly ready to take this challenge."
Like many other teams, Mercedes will parade cars with significant upgrades, although given the hand from Mercedes, it is Schumacher's that will come under most scrutiny.
"We will see how our developments look in relation to those of the other teams," added Schumacher.
"Every team heads to Barcelona with a revised car, and so of course do we.
"I see a lot of potential here, especially as our team has been reacting very well over the past four races.
"We have worked on general improvements to the car, as well as specific developments in downforce and efficiency, and I am confident we have room to make further progress in the future."
However, it is symptomatic of Schumacher's mindset these days that he also tempers his optimism with a degree of negativity, just in case all does not go to plan.
"Our step forward in Barcelona will be bigger than you can make at each race during the flyaways," said Schumacher.
"But it would be unrealistic to expect us to suddenly be competing right at the front."
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