Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher has recently insisted that he is no longer “rusty”, and seems confident of a more successful season than he has enjoyed since returning to the sport 2 years ago.

The 7-time world champion has struggled to adapt to the faster and ever more technologically advanced car in the races since his return after a 3 year absence from the sport, but at least gained place in the end of season standings of 2011, coming 8th, compared to his 9th place finish in 2010.

Much has been made of the German’s failure to make it onto the podium in his previous 2 years, but last year’s season saw him go close, coming 4th in Canada after a superb race. On top of that, he still has the killer instinct on the grid, often making places as soon as the red lights went out, but regularly suffering later on in races as his car’s lack of pace came back to haunt him.

If Mercedes have succeeded in their ambition of developing a far faster car capable of troubling the top 3 teams, then Michael would be in a great position to take more points this season and seems extremely likely to make a sustained attempt to achieve the first podium positions of his comeback.

Schumacher believes that his team are definitely moving forward from the position of the underdog that they have occupied in recent years. “I know the team better and I am more involved… at first I was a little rusty. Things are better now and I am convinced Mercedes and I will succeed,” said the former world champion.

In Nico Rosberg, Mercedes have another fantastically talented driver, and have a great chance of breaking the top 3 team’s monopoly on the podium positions. “We need another small step and then we can make it to the top,” believes Schumacher.