Outgoing world champion Michael Schumacher believes he can end his three-race points drought in this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos.
The Ferrari driver has endured a slump in form since taking an encouraging second place in Hungary back in July.
That run has seen him fail to finish twice, as well as meekly conceding his world championship with 10th place on Ferrari’s home ground at Monza.
But Schumacher was sufficiently heartened by practice at Interlagos yesterday to predict he can once again get back amongst the points scorers.
“We looked a bit better than we have done in the last few races but it is not like we have made some changes on the car,” he said. “Maybe the track suits us a little bit more.
“Maybe it is a little bit better than usual. It is difficult to say the real situation, we don’t have enough information to really judge it.
“We drove a lot of laps and I am sure the race will be exhausting. I think it is realistic to fight for points, but not more.”
While Schumacher may be enjoying hope of a better result this weekend, he is finding the bumpy Interlagos track less appealing.
The circuit, in the suburbs above Sao Paulo, is notoriously uneven and Schumacher conceded he was suffering after two hours of practice yesterday, in which McLaren’s Alex Wurz set the best time.
He said: “It was quite uncomfortable. I am sure it is not only for me but for all the drivers. It is very uneven, bumpy and slippery.
“It was not fun, it was uncomfortable. The car was very nervous and unstable. You have to find a compromise between the high-speed straights and the slow corners here and that makes it difficult.”
Schumacher’s team-mate Rubens Barrichello took heart from yesterday’s practice sessions in his home city.
The Brazilian was 13th and fifth respectively in the two sessions but holds out hope for an improved result on home turf after scoring just six points in the last seven races.
He said: “To be honest I was quite happy with the way the car went in the afternoon as we improved quite a bit from the morning session.
“It behaved a little bit better than we had expected and we seem to be a bit more competitive than over the past couple of weekends, especially in race trim.
“Now we have to wait and see what the weather does as that could be an important factor for the next two days.”
After practice, Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn backtracked on his claims Valentino Rossi would undertake an extensive testing programme next season.
The four-time MotoGP world champion recently dismissed Brawn’s claims and the Englishman clarified his comments, insisting he had only meant to indicate how Rossi could be brought into Formula One.
He said: “He has indicated he has not made that decision yet. We have to wait and see what he wants to do. If he wants to do it I have outlined how we would go about it.”