By Alex Kapadia
Michael Schumacher is already dashing hopes that his return to F1 will be brighter next season with the arrival of the new tyres supplied by Pirelli.
The seven-times world champion, who has struggled continuously with the Bridgestone tyres this year, reckons the new tyres will not have an immediate impact on his performance.
The Italian tyres manufacturer is entering the last phase of is testing session in preparation to become sole tyre supplier of Formula One in the 2011 season.
However the 41-year-old Mercedes driver thinks it will take time for him to get a feel for how the new tyres perform on his car.
He said: “There is a question of what I will experience at the first test [in Abu Dhabi], and the other thing is how much it will develop from there to the beginning of the season and through the season.
“There is [also] a question mark about if the tyres we have in Abu Dhabi are the tyres that we will start the season with, and we will continue the season with. Depending on what is the situation there, you will get a quick read because you know how the car was with the Bridgestone tyres and then you understand quickly what it is with Pirelli tyres.”
The German has faced considerable difficulty adapting to his vehicle in the first year of his F1 comeback, and has been constantly outperformed by team-mate and compatriot Nico Rosberg.
However, Schumacher has repeatedly denied rumours that he will quit F1 at the end of the season and has stressed the importance of giving a team time to evolve and develop gradually.
Drivers will test the new tyres at the end of the season after the championship climax in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.