Mercedes GP CEO Nick Fry believes Michael Schumacher's fourth place in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix is evidence that the seven-time world champion has got his "sparkle" back.
Fry told Autosport that Schumacher's performance also revealed he had got his confidence back following a miserable outing three weeks ago in China.
"The sparkle is back," said Fry. "I think in China he was perplexed - that is the best word to use. Right from the beginning of Friday in Spain he was on it right from the start, and listening on the radio to Michael, there is the confidence back in his voice. He knows exactly what he wants from the car and he got all that could be had."
Despite Schumacher's stronger showing, Fry believes Mercedes is still some way behind title favourite Red Bull. Schumacher was one minute behind race winner Mark Webber in Spain.
"When you finish a minute behind, it is incredibly disappointing and the reality is that we have a lot of work to do," said Fry. "I frankly wouldn't expect the Red Bull to have such an advantage on other circuits, and I think this one particularly suited it.
"But even if it hasn't got that level of advantage, it has certainly got half a second on us and that is a lot to make up - so there is a lot of work to be done over the next month or so."