SEPANG, Malaysia, March 22, 2012 (AFP) - Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher Thursday played down Mercedes' advantage from their controversial 'W-duct' rear wing which has caused consternation among rival teams.
Schumacher admitted the device, which channels air-flow to reduce drag, gave his team an edge, but he caustically remarked that some people were "a little bit too excited" about it.
"There's no doubt that we have an innovation that gives us some performance but I don't think that it is a huge performance and that we only live from this. We'll find out. I can't really quantify this," Schumacher said.
Schumacher qualified fourth for last week's Australian Grand Prix, but was then forced out of the race with gearbox trouble.
The new wing, which has been cleared by the governing body despite concerns over its legality, in the season's first technical row, is expected to boost Mercedes on the long straights this week in Malaysia.
"You're probably talking in terms of nature of the track that it will give another slight advantage but I think some get a little bit too excited about this compared to reality. But that's the usual story," said the German.
Schumacher added that his gearbox problem in Australia was a "one-off" and had since been fixed.
"It's a one-off. We did quite a few thousand kilometres (miles) in winter testing and never had this issue. We understood it though and fixed it," he said.