Tag Archives: Brawn

Brawn: Mercedes behind with preparations

Ross Brawn

Ross Brawn

Mercedes GP team principal Ross Brawn has admitted that his team is behind in preparations for the Bahrain Grand Prix and the rest of the season, but believes the team still has a strong car.

While Mercedes has returned to F1 for the first time since 1955, they had taken over the old Brawn GP team, so it w0uld have seemed that they would have been well prepared. However, Ross Brawn says differently:

"Everyone at Mercedes GP is proud to be representing the rich
motorsport pedigree of Mercedes-Benz as we start the season as the
first Mercedes works team for over half a century," Brawn began. "In
addition, knowing that we go into the new season as the reigning
World Champions gives the team confidence and a fierce pride to
defend our position.
owever, this is a new season and a new challenge. We had a strong
pre-season testing programme with the MGP W01 but we have not quite
reached the level of preparation that we would have liked prior to
Bahrain; the car shows promise and we have a strong development
programme planned for the season but there is a lot of hard work
ahead to ensure that we will be in the fight for the title.

It's odd to me reading this, after what happened last year. When Jenson Button won his sixth race out of 7 in Turkey, Brawn GP switched focus to their 2010 car, which would end up as the W01. Their wind tunnel (believed to be up to 5 wind tunnels) system was now completely working on the aerodynamic setup for 2010, and not the rest of the season. The wind tunnel was used for 2009 twice after this, in Valencia when Barrichello ended up winning, and near the end of the season, just to ensure that Button had a good enough car to secure the title.

Apart from these two times, the 2010 car has been developed on from June 2009 until now. So how can they say they are behind in preparations? The team say the car shows promise, rather than saying it's good right now, which says a lot. One possible reason for this problem is a wind tunnel calibration error. I'm saying this because it happened to the team back in 2007 (when they were Honda). It's not based on facts, but it could be a possibility.

Brawn then talked about his views on his driver line-up and the 2010 season:

"I am very pleased with how our new drivers, Michael and Nico, have 
settled into the team and developed a close working relationship," 
Brawn continued. "They have really pushed the development of the car 
throughout testing and they will push each other to achieve better
results on the race track.
This season should be a fantastic one for the fans, with so many 
talented drivers competing and what is likely to be a very close 
fight for the title between the top teams - and that can only be 
good for our sport."

Yet another diffuser row?

McLaren's diffuser was blocked away

McLaren's diffuser was blocked away

The prospect of another diffuser row boiling up again appears to have come back, with many teams pursuing “extreme” solutions.

At the launch of the McLaren MP4-25 today, McLaren engineering director Paddy Lowe said the team had had pushed the diffuser regulations as far as possible. Not only this, but he believes that other teams will go for extreme solutions. He said:

“This is the first car in which we have had a clean sheet of paper to really exploit the interpretation [of diffusers] that was developed last year for a design of floors,” said Lowe.

“You will see we have produced a fairly extreme incarnation of that but we won’t be alone in that. We believe you will see some pretty extreme solutions on our competitors’ cars as well.”

The writing on the wall comes from the fact that, when the MP4-25 was launched today, the diffuser was blocked from view with black boards. However, Lowe believes there is no rule infringement, saying:

“We think the interpretation is very clear,” he said. “In certain aspects we have sought guidance from the FIA and they have come out with very clear interpretation, understanding and guidance – and we think that has been made available to all the teams.”

“We are hoping for a much cleaner start to the season then we had a year ago in terms of the teams’ collective understanding of the basis from which we go racing.”

Ferrari, however, say differently. Aldo Costa told Gazzetta dello Sport:

“We were and still are convinced that the double diffuser concept was illegal. We feel there may still be interpretation over this, as the rules leave the door open to many possibilities. It’s up to the FIA to supervise, but we are rather worried.”

This sort of thing coming up again would just be a disaster. The double-decker diffuser row last year put so much doubt into people’s minds and, as Fernando Alonso predicted, decided the outcome of the championship. Hopefuly, the FIA have learnt their lessons from last year, and hopefully the teams won’t have been too radical with this year’s design.

Double-decker diffusers banned for 2011

Williams' double-decker diffuser

Williams' double-decker diffuser

The infamous double-decker diffusers, the centre of the contreversy at the start of the 2009 season, has been banned for the 2011 season.

This rule could not be implemented for the 2010 season, as it was too late and the F1 cars had been nearly completed. However, technical rule changes for the 2011 season have meant that the undertray slots, which allow double-decker diffusers to work, have been outlawed.

Artwork of Toyota's double-decker diffuser

Artwork of Toyota's double-decker diffuser

The F1 Technical Working Group has been the reason these rule changes could be implemented, as it is a meeting of all the F1 teams. However, Christian Horner, boss of Red Bull, believes the rule changes should be further beyond simple tweaks:

“I think the most important thing is to set clear objectives – as to what do the governing body and the promoters want F1 to be,” he told AUTOSPORT last weekend. “What do they want the F1 cars to be able to do?

“Then rather than cherry picking at bits and pieces, we can look at the package as a whole to encourage more overtaking, and to enable the cars to follow more closely.”

“I think looking at components in isolation is often quite dangerous, so I think it is important that the overall objective is clearly defined and then worked on by the various technical groups.”

It is expected that the effective outlawing of double-decker diffusers will slow the cars down in 2011 by up to 2 seconds per lap.

Button’s new helmet revealed?

Photo of Jenson Button's new helmet

Photo of Jenson Button's new helmet

Jenson Button’s helmet for 2010 may have been posted online on Twitter.

A tweeter called @honeybee85 won the chance to be a part in the McLaren photoshoot at the McLaren Technology Centre. She later posted a picture of Button’s picture online.

It appears to be quite like the old blue and red Union Jack design he used at Honda, before he changed it to the flourescent yellow to suit the Brawn GP livery.

Whether this is the new 2010 helmet, we will have to see.

Schumacher targeting both titles in 2010

Michael Schumacher in a GP2 car

Michael Schumacher in a GP2 car

Michael Schumacher has said that he and the Mercedes GP team are planning to win both world championships this year.

On his personal website, he wrote:

“The constellation we have here is pretty unique – with Ross and his world championship winning team, with the know-how of Mercedes, with the best engine at the moment and we want to use that. We have a clear aim: we want to win the championships. That’s what we will fight for from the beginning. That is my personal standard too.”

Also, he believes that, thanks to his 3-year break, he is stronger than ever before.

“After my retirement at the end of 2006 I was very happy,” he explained. “I felt relieved and free. It was good for me to be quiet for those three years. It really feels as if my batteries have been fully recharged. My energy is back completely. I have really noticed how the prickle has returned and how motivated I am, because I am looking forward to this competition so much.”

Clearly, he is well motivated ahead of this season, but can he do it? The Mercedes car, as we know, has taken all technical information off Brawn, who had started on their 2010 challenger as early as Silverstone (July) 2009. I suppose this all boils down to whether he has the machinery for the job or not.

Button: Title chances better at McLaren

Jenson Button at the Autosport International

Jenson Button at the Autosport International

Jenson Button has said that his early experiences at McLaren have convinced him that his title chances are better at McLaren than former team Brawn.

Button left Brawn at the end of 2009, after winning the driver championship with the team. He has joined McLaren to partner Lewis Hamilton for next season.

At the Autosport International show, he is convinced that he has done the right thing:

“If I was at Brawn still, I would go into the season positive, but not as positive as I am now.”

“I have spent some time at the factory in the simulator, with the engineers and it is going very well. The two guys I have got looking after me, who are working with me, have been great.”

“They know this is a difficult switch for me, a difficult change, but they have been very good. They are very hungry to succeed this year – which is exactly what I am. It is a good partnership.”

Button has also responded to critics who think that Lewis Hamilton will dominate him this season. He believes that the two can spur each other on to achieve great things:

“I don’t know who will build the best car this year, but we will work as hard as we can. I am really looking forward to the partnership with Lewis. That is the truth – from the bottom of my heart.”

“We can work very well together and we can, as a team, fight for the world championship together. And us two together is a much stronger team than us in separate teams.”

“When we get to the end of the year we will see [where we finished]. But, at the moment, we will work together and there is no reason to say I am going to beat him, or he is going to beat me.”

“I am sure everyone is opinionated about it, but nobody knows until the last race finishes. We are going to work together and we are hopefully going to do a good job for the British fans.”

He was then asked about how he felt about Michael Schuamcher returning. He replied:

“A few people have said he is 41 years old, is he too old to be racing in F1 and has he lost it? I don’t think so.”

“He has won more world championships than anyone. He will be competitive. He is not a silly guy. He won’t be coming back to F1 to be slow – he is going to be competitive and he will be ready for the first race. And I hope so. It will be great if Michael is fighting it out at the front.”

“It is really good for F1, and it will bring a few fans back that maybe left when Michael did. And it is made for the best season in F1 I think – ever. I really do think that. It is going to be such a competitive season.”

“You have got four world champions – one guy that missed out by one point and a few very, very talented people. It is exciting. New teams. New drivers. It is great.”

Button: I’ll be even stronger in 2010

Jenson Button at the Autosport International

Jenson Button at the Autosport International

Jenson Button has said that the struggle he endured last year to win his first world championship will help him in his title defence in 2010.

In 2009, after dominating the first half of the season, he struggled in the second half, but still hung on to take the 2009 title. However, he has said that the lessons have been learned by him and Brawn, and these lessons have been taken on board as he goes up against Lewis Hamilton this year.

At the Autosport International, he said:

“Because we were in such a position of leading the championship by quite a few points, we were too cautious. We didn’t want anything to go wrong.”

“We were too cautious for the situation, although you can say too cautious and we still ended up winning the championship. I think we should have been a little bit more aggressive with our strategy, and also myself, I should have been more aggressive.”

“It was a position I had never been in before. It was something I really learned through the season, and it is amazing that you learn so much when you are fighting for a championship – a championship that is so important to you. So it was a very up and down season, and when we got to Brazil, and also a couple of races before Brazil, we realised we started to need to get aggressive again and we really had to fight for this.”

Also, he has supported his decicion of moving to McLaren, as he says that he wanted a new challenge in his career. He also added that this new challenge will help him for this season.

“I have been working for 21 years to achieve my goal – but yes, I am massively hungry. When I won the world championship in Brazil I was looking for something else. I thought I have achieved what I set out to do, but what do I do now? It is a very strange situation to be in, because you should enjoy the moment but it is very, very difficult to because you are always thinking too far ahead that you have to be careful of.”

“I knew that moving to a new team and moving to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes would be a real challenge for me, and racing alongside Lewis, but it is a challenge I am so excited about. I am putting so much effort into making this work. This is the most important thing for me at the moment.”

His full interview at the Autosport International is available here:

Newey: Red Bull blocked from Mercedes engine deal

Adrian Newey

Adrian Newey

Red Bull designer and aerodynamic expert Adrian Newey claims that Red Bull were blocked from getting a Mercedes engine deal this year.

He says that Mercedes users, McLaren and Brawn, decided to block the deal.

Talking at the Motorsport Safety Fund’s Watkins Lecture at Autosport International, Newey says that the team wanted the engines because of the Mercedes teams’ performance advantage:

“The Mercedes engine enjoyed a good advantage over the rest of the field last year. The lap time difference was significant – several tenths of a second. And when you have to find that kind of performance from the chassis, that’s quite a big ask.”

“But in the end Brawn and McLaren blocked us from having the Mercedes engine.”

The team had also looked at using Cosworth engines for 2010, but decided to stay with Renault for the time being, despite reliability issues.

Button downplays Hamilton advantage

Jenson Button

Jenson Button

Jenson Button has downplayed the advantage that Lewis Hamilton over him this year, but admits it will take time for him to adapt into his new team.

In an interview with Reuters: He said: “”I’m not going to say he (Hamilton) starts with a big advantage. I will say that it is all new to me with this team.”

“Maybe if I stayed where I was it would have been harder to get a second title. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so motivated. But moving to where I am now I think it has really motivated me,” he said.

“It is something that really excites me and something I am going to work really hard on achieving with the team this year.”

When asked about racing against Michael Schumacher again, he said: “

“I think it is amazing for the sport,” he added “I think having four world champions racing, and one of them who has achieved more than anyone else in the sport, is great.”

“It’s an unusual decision by Michael but he’s obviously got his reasons… you’ve got to say fair play to Ross [Brawn] for getting him on board. It’s great having him back on the grid and I look forward to the challenge this year with him.”

Double-decker diffusers to be banned by 2011?

Williams' double-decker diffuser

Williams' double-decker diffuser

Formula 1 teams are reportedly negotiating a rule that would see the infamous double-decker diffusers banned from the 2011 season onwards.

According to Autosport, the FOTA Technical Regulations Working Group (TRWG) met late last year, and agreed that rules should be changed to outlaw the revolutionary diffuser.

For those of you that don’t know, originally Formula 1 cars ran one diffuser at the back under the car. This channelled the air under the car, to generate a large amount of downforce and rear grip. For the 2009 F1 season, the diffuser was made much smaller, to reduce downforce levels. However, a loophole was found by Brawn, Williams and Toyota. The loophole was that slots could be made in the underside of the car, which would force a large amount of air into a much larger diffuser on top.

This generated a huge amount of contreversy in Melbourne, where, after many complaints from other teams, the FIA eventually found the DD diffusers to be legal. The other teams were forced to play catch-up as the season progressed. These diffusers have got more and more complicated, and are generating much more downforce than the 2009 technical rules were expecting.

It is expected that, with the outlawing of DD diffusers, the cars will be slowed down by up to 1 second per lap.

This means that, if the diffusers are outlawed, major changes will have to be made to the back of the cars, including the gearbox and rear suspension. Several teams have already voiced their concerns at the cost of this redesign.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers