Tag Archives: Schumacher

Mercedes GP 2012 Radical ‘New’ Nose

Today at Jerez, the first day of testing for the 2012 F1 Season, Mercedes GP revealed it’s new ‘nose’ (see exclusive photo below). Ross Brawn said it had significant aerodynamic advantages and that air would literally ‘pass over like water off a duck’s back’. Rosberg was first to drive it and Schumacher is looking forward to testing it shortly. An unnamed source in the pitlane said this was a stupid idea and that Mercedes engineers were clearly quacking up.

I don’t know if it is quick, but it sure looks cute to me.


Did you notice in Bahrain Q3?

Following the form displayed at the four pre-season testing events, qualifying at Bahrain threw up a few surprises that we are all now talking about: Vettel and Red Bull on pole; the poor one lap pace of McLaren; Schumacher consistently slower than Rosberg; the great pace of Kubica in the Renault and the poor speed of Sauber and Toro Rosso. However, did you notice the difference between the times of Q2 and Q3?

Unlike last year, the teams qualify in low fuel for all three sessions and the entire top ten used the ‘option’ tyre (super softs) for both Q2 and Q3. You would expect drivers to get quicker or at least produce very similar times in these two sessions, especially with no change in track conditions.

This did not happen. With the sole exception of Massa in the Ferrari, every driver was significantly slower in Q3 compared to Q2 with most doing times half a second off their previous pace.

Pos Driver Team Q3 Time Diff. To Q2 time
1 Vettel Red Bull 1:54.101 + 0.218s
2 Massa Ferrari 1:54.242 – 0.089s
3 Alonso Ferrari 1:54.608 + 0.436s
4 Hamilton McLaren 1:55.217 + 0.510s
5 Rosberg Mercedes 1:55.241 + 0.559s
6 Webber Red Bull 1:55.284 + 0.966s
7 Schumacher Mercedes 1:55.524 + 0.419s
8 Button McLaren 1:55.672 + 0.504s
9 Kubica Renault 1:55.885 + 0.922s
10 Sutil Force India 1:56.309 + 1.313s

As the track conditions had not changed, the difference can only be put down to drivers trying too hard to get that perfect lap for the first pole of the new season. Rosberg said that he really thought he could get pole but struggled with his tyres and said that if he got too much oversteer in one corner and overheated the tyres, the next few corners would be ruined.

Therefore, Massa’s performance is all the more impressive as he was the only driver to keep his cool and go quicker in Q3 than he had in Q2.

Vettel was quickest in both Q2 and Q3, but if you believe pre-season testing then the Ferraris will definitely beat the Red Bull tomorrow in the race. However, it just goes to show, don’t be fooled by what happens in pre-season testing!

Jake McMillan

Poll Result: The F1 rivalry we are most looking forward to in 2010

2010 is a year of fantastic rivalries and a recent poll on this site has revealed that the F1 rivalry we are most looking forward to, far beyond any other, is seeing back from retirement Michael Schumacher compete against all the current top F1 elite of Massa, Button, Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel and Webber.  Two-thirds of the poll (67%) stated they were most looking forward to seeing this battle.

Next highest vote (19%) was the battle between the two McLaren drivers of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. Popular opinion seems to be that Hamilton will come out on top for 2010, but we are all wondering just how close or far away Button will be.

A small percentage of people are looking forward to the Vettel Vs Webber fight. Interestingly, no one voted for Alonso Vs Massa?

Pre-Season Test 3 – Day 1 at Jerez

The first day of the third test back at Jerez was largely a damp and unexciting day. The main highlight was seeing Lotus F, the second of the “new” F1 teams, in action. The good news is that Lotus had a good day, completed an impressive trouble-free 76 laps with test driver Fairuz Fauzy and were quicker than Virgin Racing’s Timo Glock who only completed 10 laps. Lotus, it seems, are on route to meet their target of being best of the new teams.

The track was damp most of the day and it rained off and on throughout the day which made it very difficult for the teams. Michael Schumacher said, “The weather was really changing all the time today which made it difficult to follow our planned programme and to have a clear picture of everyone’s performance.”

Here are the fastest times from today, but really do not read a lot into them:

Pos Driver Team Time Diff. Laps
1 Vettel Red Bull (Renault) 1min 22.593secs 99
2 Hamilton McLaren (Mercedes) 1min 23.017secs -0.424 72
3 Massa Ferrari 1min 23.204secs -0.611 72
4 Buemi Toro Rosso (Ferrari) 1min 23.322secs -0.729 79
5 de la Rosa BMW Sauber (Ferrari) 1min 23.367secs -0.774 76
6 Schumacher Mercedes 1min 23.803secs -1.210 111
7 Sutil Force India (Mercedes) 1min 24.272secs -1.679 28
8 di Resta Force India (Mercedes) 1min 25.088secs -2.495 74
9 Petrov Renault 1min 26.237secs -3.644 55
10 Barrichello Williams (Cosworth) 1min 27.320secs -4.727 109
11 Fauzy Lotus (Cosworth) 1min 31.848secs -9.255 76
12 Glock Virgin (Cosworth) 1min 32.417secs -9.824 10

This is what you need to know from today’s action:

  • Barrichello completed 109 laps on mainly heavy fuel runs but caused 2 Red Flags with stoppages on the track
  • Vettel in the Red Bull showed some genuine pace today for the first time, particularly as the track was drying out around lunch time. Like last year the Red Bull seems to have good grip in wet and drying conditions. He was quickest overall today, but 1min 22.593secs is 3 seconds slower than the quickest time of last week at Jerez
  • Mr Shoemaker was quiet today, but did complete an impressive 111 laps without any incident
  • Ferrari are not completely bullet proof with Massa stopping out on track and did not return for a couple of hours whilst they made some changes. At the end of the day they tweeted ‘Honestly, it was not a very productive day for the team. Anyway, we did what we could. Let’s hope tomorrow will be a better one.’
  • Lotus finished the day quite jubilant at 4pm (rather than 5pm) and were pleased with their day’s work. Technical Director Mike Gascoyne tweeted ‘Done for the day! Job list for the car issued and back on track tomorrow with Heikki!’ For Mike, that is almost emotional! Because they had an issue with a supplier, poor old Fairuz Fauzy had to drive without any power steering. If you’ve ever done karting and had sore forearms after doing a few laps, imagine what it is like in an F1 car with so much more grip!
  • British test driver Paul di Resta was in the Force India today, but switched with Adrian Sutil mid afternoon. They tweeted ‘Apart from the minor spin, it’s been a fair outing for Paul. He’s moved the times down consistently. Not our best day though’.  However, by the end of the day they were a bit more positive, ‘Day ends. Adrian up to 1m24.272s not as fast as other days. Working with slightly heavier fuel loads than the other days. Good data’.
  • Hamilton in the McLaren caused a red flag early in the day which they say was due to a minor systems error. He was producing competitive lap times most of the day
  • Buemi in the Toro Rosso had a reasonable day and was definitely on the pace
  • Pedro de la Rosa in the Sauber did not make much of an impression today, but was not off the pace
  • Renault did not have a special day with Petrov completing only 55 laps and seemingly well off the pace
  • Virgin Racing fared even worse, with Timo Glock only able to do 10 laps

The weather forecast is currently predicting for Jerez:

Thur – Heavy Rain

Fri – Sunny (fingers crossed!)

Sat – Light Rain

Jake McMillan

A few more photos from today:

111 laps for Schumacher today

Vettel was fastest today and showed good pace in the Red Bull

Glock only managed 10 laps in the VR-01

Massa and Ferrari did not have a productive day

Pedro de la Rosa enjoying the Wet, but a quiet day for him

Lotus leaving pits for the first time

Separated at birth? Vettel & Shaggy from Scooby Doo

Frustrating day for Barrichello

Massa chasing down Schumacher

Hamilton had a quiet day, but was on the pace

Lotus on Track

Ferrari experiment with new aerodynamic device - a black bag!

Great to see Lotus on track and being reliable

The Ferrari caused a Red Flag today

2010 First Day of F1 Testing – The Return of Michael Schumacher

Today was the first day of the first F1 test of 2010 and the interest in today’s action was unprecedented with hundreds of journalists in attendance, perhaps more than were at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year!

Press Surround Michael Schumacher

2010 is shaping up to the be most exciting in recent history and F1 fans around the world were in eager anticipation to see the new cars in action. Who would be quickest?! Unfortunately there isn’t any video coverage of the tests, but thanks to Twitter we were kept up to date with all the latest developments.

The big news was, and still very much is, the return of 7-times World Champion Michael Schumacher who is back out of retirement to race with the Mercedes GP team. Does the 41 year old German still have what it takes? From his performance today we can tell that he still knows how to drive a F1 car quickly and posted a time over half a second quicker than his young teammate, Nico Rosberg.

1 – Massa (BRA) – Ferrari – 102 Laps – 1min 12.574secs (198.77 KPH)
2 – de la Rosa (SPA) – Sauber – 74 Laps – 1min 12.784secs
3 – Schumacher (GER) –  Mercedes – 40 Laps – 1min 12.947secs
4 – Rosberg (GER) – Mercedes – 39 Laps – 1min 13.543secs
5 – Paffett (GBR) – McLaren – 86 Laps – 1min 13.846secs
6 – Barrichello (BRA) – Williams – 75 Laps – 1min 14.449secs
7 – Buemi (SUI) – Toro Rosso – 18 Laps – 1min 14.762secs
8 – Kubica (POL) – Renault – 69 Laps – 1min 15.000secs

As I have cautioned recently, we cannot really tell a lot from these F1 tests as we do not know the fuel levels each driver is carrying. We do not know the tyre-wear rates or the fuel consumption of the different engines. These are all the critical factors that will decide which team and driver will triumph in 2010.

Schumacher driving his Silver Arrow Mercedes

Today was not about producing quick times for the teams. For a lot of the teams they will be thankful that the car was able to do several laps without breaking down. There is a lot of testing and development still to do, so do not read much into what happened today. However, we can tell the following:

  • Massa, thankfully, is definitely back! He seems to have lost none of his speed and ability since his horrible accident at the Hungarian GP last year
  • Ferrari are not slow – there were rumours before the test that Ferrari were not happy with the aero performance of the car, but Massa was quickest for the majority of today
  • Sauber were on the pace today! We don’t know the fuel levels of course, but great to see that de la Rosa was right up there today (2nd fastest) and hope to see Kobayashi repeat this performance
  • Toro Rosso had technical problems – They had a gearbox problem that meant they could only complete 18 laps and also admitted they were having downforce issues
  • Renault have work to do! They completed 69 laps with Kubica and were slowest today

It’s only testing, but I can’t wait until tomorrow and Wednesday! Hamilton gets into the McLaren for the first time tomorrow, Alonso will get his first go in the Ferrari on Wednesday and current World Champion Jenson Button will be on the track with Michael Schumacher.


Jake McMillan

7 Reasons why the 2010 F1 Championship could be the most exciting Ever

Here are 7 reasons, in no order of priority, of why the 2010 Formula One World Championship is shaping up to be one of the most interesting and exciting championships ever:

1)      Button & Hamilton at McLaren – The current and former F1 Champions racing together in the same team. Both are British, racing in a British team but with very different driving styles that has been compared to the different styles of Prost and Senna. Regardless of who you support or comparisons to other rivalries, everyone wants to see if Jenson can measure up to and even beat Lewis?

2)      Alonso at Ferrari – The double world champion is now thankfully back in a competitive car with the most prestigious team in F1 history. Always ultra-competitive, he will be counting the milliseconds down until he can start challenging for race victories again. Whether he will be champion or not, who knows, but he will definitely be in thick of the action this year.

3)      Michael Schumacher is back – The most successful racing driver ever in F1 history returns to the sport with the current champion constructor, Brawn GP, now called Mercedes GP. This is very exciting. Massive debate has already taken place as to why he is doing it and whether he can be as good as he was before. Even if he’s not at his peak, he will still be very competitive and will feature highly throughout the year. He will give Mercedes GP expert technical input into how to develop their car over the year.

4)      Refuelling Ban – All drivers will have to start the race with enough fuel to finish it which will mean for the first time in over 15 years that drivers really will have to learn how to manage their tyres and fuel consumption. Drivers known to have aggressive driving styles (e.g. Alonso & Hamilton) will need to adapt in 2010 to be successful. This will make for interesting races as drivers who are more careful early on will be quicker in the later stages of the race. Drivers will need to be quick and smart.

5)      At least 4 Teams at the front – At this moment in time, it is expected that McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes GP and Red Bull will all be up at the front challenging for victories and points. Normally, we get one or maybe two teams fighting it out, but this year we will have a minimum of 4 teams that will be closely matched. It will vary from track to track and as the year progresses, but it is unlikely that one team will be head and shoulders above the rest.

6)      Change in Points – 2010 will see a change to the points system that will reward more points to those who finish higher up with the top 10 drivers receiving points as follows: 25-20-15-10-8-6-5-3-2-1.  This is similar to the Moto GP points system and the aim is to encourage drivers to overtake and get race wins rather than settle for points.

7)      New Teams on the Grid – The arrival of Lotus, Virgin, US F1 and Campos Meta will definitely have an impact on the sport and we will all be interested to see how competitive they are? Bernie Ecclestone has even recently questioned whether they will even make the first race of the season. It will be exciting to see them on the grid as well as observe talents of new drivers such as Bruno Senna, the nephew of Ayrton Senna.

Just one of these reasons alone would make the championship interesting, but combine them together and we are looking at what hopefully will be one of closest fought and exciting championships ever. Every practice, qualifying, race and point will count. I cannot wait.


Jake McMillan