Constructors’ championship 2010: 4th
Mercedes GP team principal Ross Brawn admitted his team was a second off the front-running pace of Red Bull and Ferrari heading into the last test of the off-season, so eyebrows were raised when Michael Schumacher took the heavily-revised MGP W02 to the top of the Barcelona timesheets two weeks ago.
Was their dramatic upturn in fortunes due to a low-fuel glory run, or have the updates promised by Brawn made a dramatic impact? We’ll find out this weekend at the start of a season where the second-year team has aspirations of regular podium finishes and a first win with its all-German driver line-up.
7 Michael Schumacher (age 42, German, 269 Grand Prix starts)
The seven-time World Champion didn’t set the world on fire in his first season back after a three-year hiatus in 2010; three fourth-place finishes aren’t what winners of 91 Grands Prix get excited about. But the 42-year-old has repeatedly said his comeback is a three-year project, and Australia is the perfect place to start any resurgence.
Schumacher has won at Albert Park four times, all in a five-year period between 2000 and 2004.
2010 season: 72 points, 9th – best result fourth in Spain, Turkey and Korea.
8 Nico Rosberg (age 25, German, 89 Grand Prix starts)
The son of 1982 World Champion Keke Rosberg had his most impressive campaign to date in 2010, dominating teammate Michael Schumacher and adding three podiums for a career tally of five. After five seasons, the time has come for the 25-year-old to take the next step, and a race win in 2011 has to be the aim for Rosberg in a season where he’ll bring up his 100th Grand Prix start.
Had his first career podium here for Williams in 2008.
2010 season: 142 points, 7th – best result third in Malaysia, China and Great Britain.