Mercedes GP team boss Ross Brawn on Wednesday backed seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher to come back stronger this season after his disappointing return to Formula One last year.
Having come out of retirement, the 42-year-old Schumacher failed to reach the podium at all in the 2010 season and his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg finished 70 points ahead of him in the World Drivers' Championships.
"I am not making promises, but I already saw he was improving during races towards the end of the season," Brawn told German daily Bild.
"I am sure he will be stronger in his second year than his first.
"I can also see Michael is giving his all, I know that will only make him stronger."
Formula One teams began three days of testing near Valencia this week and the new MGP W02 Silver Arrow, unveiled on Tuesday with silver and green livery, is said to be more sophisticated than last season's car.
Schumacher has blamed technical problems with the old car for his poor return after his three-year hiatus, saying the car did not always handle the same as Rosberg's.
But he has vowed to put the problems behind him and win his first world drivers' championship since 2004.
Brawn insists Rosberg's car was no better than Schumacher's.
"Nico Rosberg is an extremely gifted boy. He has simply got more out of the car, which was not an especially good model," said Brawn.
"Michael needs to understand that first. After all, he is not used to being beaten. Sometimes, he just wanted to win too much. His over-zealousness didn't improve his times."
Despite his poor performance last season, by his own lofty standards, Schumacher has spent the winter improving himself, according to Brawn.
"He has lost nothing of his ambition," he said.
"Over the winter, for example, he spent a lot of time working with our engineers.
"Concerning his approach, his devotion and his professionalism, nothing has changed at all.
"When I phoned him recently I could hardly understand him, because he was so out of breath while talking to me on the exercise bike."
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