Michael Schumacher [ Images ] has brushed off criticism of his performance since he came out of retirement, saying he is still in the Formula One title race.
The seven-times world champion said on Thursday he has no reason to be disappointed with his first three outings with Mercedes [ Images ] and, if anything, he is making better progress than he expected.
"If we have quick enough development speed there's no reason why we cannot fight for the championship," the German told a news conference ahead of Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix [ Images ].
"There is such a long season ahead, development is so important, we all know how quickly the rate of development is. I'm pretty sure we have potential to develop this car," added Schumacher who trails championship leader Felipe Massa [ Images ] by 30 points.
"It's far from thinking this season is over for (team mate) Nico (Rosberg) and even for myself."
Schumacher has been out-qualified and beaten in all three races by his compatriot.
An encouraging sixth place at the season-opener in Bahrain was followed by a disappointing 10th in Australia [ Images ] before a wheel nut problem meant he failed to finish in Malaysia two weeks ago.
The result has seen a distinctly less adoring media than Schumacher experienced in the years when he dominated the sport with Benetton and Ferrari [ Images ].
"I've been around long enough to know about what I call the wave of emotion," said the 41-year-old who sported a black scarf around his neck against the Shanghai chill.
"In winter everyone was very emotional and supportive, that was the wave, and then there is a natural falling off.
"Whether you're the reason for it or whether it's just a natural happening, is not important," added Schumacher.
"The results have not been as great as some people have expected, even myself, but the competition is high. So it is natural I don't have the same positive feeling from the media.
"I know exactly what I've been doing, I know what's going on and I have no reason to be disappointed. I still feel very happy, whether people like it or not."
The last of Schumacher's record 91 wins came in Shanghai four years ago but the veteran of more than 250 races was not tempted to wax nostalgic when asked about it.
"I am not a person that sticks too much in the past," he said. "I'd rather look forward and have better races than I've had in the last three races."