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Schumacher hopes to repay Chinese fans

April 5, 2012 -- Updated 1718 GMT (0118 HKT)
Michael Schumacher won in Shanghai in 2006 with Ferrari but has had little other success at the race.
Michael Schumacher won in Shanghai in 2006 with Ferrari but has had little other success at the race.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Michael Schumacher determined to reward Chinese fans with win on April 15
  • German driver admits history is not on his side at the Shanghai circuit
  • The seven-times world champion has had a disappointing start to the year

(CNN) -- Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher is hoping to repay his Chinese fans with a win in Shanghai next weekend -- despite admitting he's "never had much luck" at the Formula One circuit.

The 43-year-old driver has had a disappointing start to the year despite his Mercedes team's promising pace in qualifying and pre-race practice sessions.

He was forced to pull out of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in March after suffering a gearbox failure, then finished 10th in Malaysia.

The German, who has struggled since coming back from retirement in 2010, finished eighth in China last year.

"As for the race itself, I've never had much luck in Shanghai, apart from my win in 2006," he told reporters in Shanghai.

When I think about the Chinese Grand Prix, the fans are the first thing that comes to mind
Micahel Schumacher

"In the first two races of 2012 we didn't manage to maintain our qualifying pace in race conditions. We've been working intensively on this, so that we can offer our fans a strong performance in China."

The former Ferrari star is now determined to secure a win in front of his huge following in Asia.

"When I think about the Chinese Grand Prix, the fans are the first thing that comes to mind. For many years now, I've had a big and loyal fan base there, and it's still very touching to see the lengths they go to in supporting me."

Team principal Ross Brawn said Mercedes had learned its lessons from the start of the year.

"On track, we hope that the weekend will prove more successful than the first two races of the season where our race results did not match expectations after a positive start to both weekends," he said.

"A lot of hard work and analysis has taken place back at the factory since our return and I hope to see these efforts pay dividends next Sunday in Shanghai."

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