NURBURGRING, Germany, July 21, 2011 (AFP) - A disappointed Michael Schumacher on Thursday made clear he remained optimistic about his future with the Mercedes team as he prepared for this weekend's German Grand Prix.
Schumacher, 42, the seven-times world champion, confirmed he felt disappointed at his and the team's results this year. "Yes I am, absolutely," he said. "We all expected something different. Going to Australia we were very excited, having had a good winter test. "It didn't work out that way, but we hope to improve our game."
Schumacher is currently in 10th place in the drivers' standings with 28 points as he prepares for his home race. "We hoped it would be better, but it is now more important to work for progress. "And although I don't think we are yet in a position to talk about winning races, I do think we are on the way. We steadily improve, although the results don't show it. "If we see the organisation, what are the actions for the future, I am very optimistic.
"You have to progressively step up and that is what we are doing."
Schumacher said he was hopeful that a set of updates due to be on the car this weekend would give him a better chance of being competitive in front of his home fans. "I have lots of good memories from this place and with the recent updates
we hope to be able to improve our gain and give something to our fans," he said.
"The weather as we pointed out before will be a subject and it will be interesting, but listening to our guys in terms of upgrades and positioning and coming back to the rules as they exist right now, it will be interesting to see what it means. There are lots of things to look forward to."
Schumacher is one of five former winners of the German Grand Prix in the field for this weekend's race, with the others being his former Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello, now with Williams, two-times champion FernandoAlonso of Ferrari, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, and Australian Mark Webber.
Schumacher has won this race four times though, and this year one of the Nurburgring circuit's corners was named after him -- an added motivation as he prepares to race in front of a big crowd of Mercedes fans. Schumacher added: "We saw some improvements over the Silverstone weekend with our new exhaust system, along with improvements to how we work with the
tyres -- so we go to the next race weekend with a good feeling added to our fighting spirit.
"We definitely want to show our home crowds our best level of performance possible.
"And it will be the first time that I race through the corner which is named after me (Turns 8 and 9), and obviously I would like to believe that this is not only making me proud, but also even faster."