It may have been slightly tongue-in-cheek, but only very slightly. After the first day of testing in preparation for the new F1 season, Rubens Barrichello offered a warning that Nico Rosberg should get out of the Mercedes team as quickly as possible to avoid being thrashed by Michael Schumacher.

It's early days for reaching such a dramatic conclusion, I would have thought, but at least Rubens knows about that of which he speaks. Having spent six seasons from 2000 as Michael’s wing man in the Ross Brawn-run Ferrari squad, Rubens knows only too well just what a stifling environment it can be paired with statistically the most successful driver of all time.

Valencia testing - 50 day one pictures

Asked at the end of Monday’s test at Valencia if he had any advice for Nico, he replied  "Yeah. Get out of there! That is the only thing I can tell him. He needs to drive fast and don't crash: Ross will always tell you that before the race."

Although Barrichello acknowledged that his commens were somewhat extreme, he does think that the speed that Schumacher showed on his return to F1 action at Valencia should serve as a warning to Rosberg.