Mercedes rubbishes Kubica rumours as Schumacher struggles

Mercedes has dismissed stories that it is in contact with Renault's Robert Kubica as "a total fabrication."

The suggestion, on an Italian website, that Kubica met team representatives in the Valencia paddock, caused a degree of speculation, particularly in view of the fact that Michael Schumacher's difficult season with the team continued at the European Grand Prix, for which the seven times champion qualified 15th.

Despite a significant upgrade package in time for the Spanish race, it was the team itself having a problematic weekend in Valencia rather than Schumacher alone, Nico Rosberg also failing to make it into Q3 and starting the race 12th.

Speaking about the Kubica rumours, team principal Ross Brawn said: "We've not spoken to Robert Kubica. I spoke to him a year ago when Brawn was looking at the future. He has a house near mine in Italy and we have socialised on the Tuscan coast. But there has been no discussion going on, I'm happy with Michael and when we get the technical package together I'm sure our drivers will succeed."

A revised exhaust system aimed at increasing the efficiency of the MGP W01's diffuser was part of the team's upgrade package in Valencia but due to overheating issues they had to go back to a less aggressive solution and therefore found it hard to judge how much of a step had actually been made. The picture was also complicated by a repeat of tyre issues the team also suffered in Canada.

"We had to increase the insulation around several components and considering that they were aero components, that wasn't ideal," Brawn said.

Explaining Schumacher's problems, he added: "Because of the issue we'd made many changes between Saturday morning practice and qualifying, and Michael found that the car was pulling to the right every time he had to stand on the brakes."

Schumacher himself said: "I've been around a long time and I've had to deal with much worse pain than this. I'm not here with a short term view. We have a three year programme and although obviously I thought we'd be closer this year, you just have to work your way through. Sure, I'm not happy about being P15 but once the progress comes, and I'm sure it will, you get rewarded."

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