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Mercedes: Zero defect is always our highest target

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Mixed emotion has touch in Mercedes GP garage after the Canadian Grand Prix. Once again Michael Schumacher retired from the race this time cause was his car’s DRS stuck in open mode. Mercedes GP team Principal Ross Brawn says about the Canadian GP incidents and Schumacher’s future.

When is the sloppiness around Michael’s car going to end?

Sloppiness is not the right expression. Both cars are designed and built to exactly the same standards, according to the same processes. Our target is always zero-defect reliability and we are not achieving that at the moment, which is compromising our championship position and our chances in the races. Resolving it is our highest priority.

Can you rule out that the retirements have something to do with Michael’s driving style which is often described as a bit aggressive?

This has absolutely nothing to do with Michael – it is entirely on our plate.

Are you going to disassemble the car now to investigate what exactly is the weak point?

We will strip the car to identify the failure, and we will implement countermeasures. The only response can be one of logical engineering and hard work, to ensure there is no repeat.

Why do the technical faults only happen to Michael’s car and never to Nico’s?

Sadly, that’s not accurate – Nico experienced a failure on Saturday morning in Canada that also put us on the back foot (nb: the failure concerned a fuel connector). When you push to the limit, and are pushing to catch the leaders like our team is, then failures sometimes happen – it’s part of motor racing. But as I said, zero defect is always our highest target.

Does Nico maybe have a better team of mechanics and engineers than Michael?

I can say this team is equal to the very best I have worked with in my Formula One career. Both cars have engineers, technicians and mechanics of the highest and equal calibre. The problems that have occurred are not due to the specifics of Michael’s crew, they are system problems that could have occurred with either car.

Can you understand Michael’s disappointment? He left the track directly after his retirement without joining the engineers’ meeting?

Michael did in fact de-brief with his engineers before leaving the circuit. Following a retirement, a driver often requests to leave the circuit early; there is nothing unusual about it. In this case, Michael wanted to avoid the traffic jam after the race.

Of course he was disappointed – and, as he himself said, it was probably even harder for the rest of the team. But one of the capabilities we all admire most about Michael is his team spirit. Especially in times of adversity.

Do you think that the retirements could lead him to the decision not to renew his contract?

In my experience with Michael, difficult times lead him to give even more to the team to pull through. And we will give our utmost to build a perfect, totally reliable car for Michael.

How do you concretely plan to stop Michael’s run of retirements? Can you maybe give us some concrete examples of things that you wish to improve?

We have to ensure that we fully understand the reasons for the problems and then deal with them in a clear and systematic way. Every member of the team is acutely aware of their responsibilities in these areas and the problems we have experienced are not due to a lack of attention or diligence.

However, whilst we have to improve we must not create new problems by reacting in the wrong way. There is no magic bullet. We can get the job done, because Nico has completed every racing lap this year and the team has historically a very good reliability record. We must continue with a controlled logical approach working at our maximum capacity 24/7 to resolve these current issues.

Source: Mercedes GP
(Interview with Bild Zeitung)


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