Daily Archives: January 14, 2010

Schumacher shows pace in GP2 test (includes video)

Michael Schumacher showed signs of pace today, at the the last day of his 3-day test in a GP2 car, in Jerez. He came within 4 tenths of a second of the lap record.

In the morning, wet tyres were needed, but in the afternoon, when the track dried up, Schumacher was able to go onto slicks. He soon showed fast pace, with a best lap of 1m24.621s. This was only 4 tenths of a second slower than the lap record, set by Kamui Kobayashi in October 2008.

Schumacher was very happy about the test, saying:

“I could really drive a lot on this last day of testing and it worked out perfectly.”

“I am very happy with the way testing went here: we worked well, times and consistency were well, we could do everything we had scheduled to do. I feel fit, I felt comfortable immediately back in the car – hey, let’s go for it!”

The GP2 series organiser, Bruno Michel, was also impressed, saying:

“Michael Schumacher’s analysis and feedback was fantastic and the GP2 technical staff who has been working with him this week is positive that what has been learned from this development test will provide us with an even better car in 2011.”

“We are very happy that Michael chose our car to get his sensations back at the wheel of a high performance machine and that he stated that it was the closest thing to a current Formula 1 car. He made a few comments comparing the GP2 and the F1 cars notably regarding their handling.”

“We are now looking forward the second round of the GP2 Asia Series next month in Abu Dhabi and we would like to wish Michael all the best for his return to Formula 1.”

A video of the test is available here;

Anderson: 2010 rules bad for overtaking

Gary Anderson

Gary Anderson

The former technical director of Jordan, Stewart and Jaguar, Gary Anderson, believes that narrower front tyres for 2010 will make overtaking more difficult in F1.

Anderson, who is now a technical correspondant for Autosport, said:

“I think the aerodynamic grip will overcome the mechanical grip loss by a reasonable amount. The full contact patches added up are what gives the car the grip level on the track, but the aerodynamics of the car are going to improve quite dramatically.

“And I think that’s wrong, because all the way along the FIA has been trying to reduce the downforce of the car to improve the overtaking, and from the simple rule of just changing the front tyre, suddenly you’ve increased the downforce levels and made overtaking worse again.”

“So it’s going to be very difficult to know. But it’s going to be about the cars and the drivers that know how to look after their tyres, because you’re going to have to do much longer stints on the tyres now.”

Because front tyres are now narrower, there is less turbulence coming from the front wing and suspension area, meaning more downforce at the front. This may lead to understeer, which can be corrected with either high rear wing angle, which increases drag and reduces speed, or lower wing flap angles at the front. This will mean about the same downforce as before the narrower tyres, but less drag and therefore higher speed.

Anderson belives that this, coupled with the refuelling ban, should not be underestimated.

“It’s going to be interesting for sure,” he said. “It’s a pretty big rule change – it will change everything that the teams have learned over the last 15 years.”

“Race strategy was such an important factor in potentially winning a race. And it’s not only refuelling. The front tyre is a narrower tyre, which will lead to better aerodynamics because there is more air that can get through between the front wheel and the monocoque. So the aerodynamic changes to the car will increase the downforce.”

“The performance of the car next year should be better by a reasonable amount, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them half a second quicker, something like that.”

Renault, McLaren and Lotus announce launch dates

Circuit Ricardo Tormo (Valencia), where testing will start

Circuit Ricardo Tormo (Valencia), where testing will start

Three F1 teams today announced the release dates for their 2010 challengers: Lotus, McLaren and Renault.

McLaren’s MP4-25 will be released on the 29th January in the UK (no specific location yet).

Renault will show off their R30 on the 31st January, the same date as BMW Sauber. Their launch will take place in Valencia, which hosts 3 days of testing the day after this launch.

Meanwhile, the new team Lotus, have announced their release date to be February 12th. They will miss the first 2 (out of 4) testing sessions, but will start to test the car at the third test, 17th February, in Jerez, Spain.

Meanwhile, Toro Rosso have confirmed there will be no launch of their car. Their STR5 will, however, appear at all the tests, starting 1st February.

Vettel not concerned about testing absence

Sebastian Vettel has said that he is not concerned about Red Bull missing the first F1 2010 test, in Valencia. On the contrary, he believes that the extra time spent in the wind tunnel will pay off in the long run.

In an interview with the Formula1.com website, he said:

“Sure it’s disappointing. But we will have 12 days of testing for the new car, which is plenty of time. It’s much better to spend time in the windtunnel and on the design of the new car, so I am perfectly happy with this.”

Regardless of this absence from the first test, Vettel is still aiming for a world championship this year.

“It’s my target to win the championship as soon as possible,” he said. “It is why I am here and, as always, I will give my best and fight until the very end. It’s very difficult to predict anything before testing has even started, but after the first race in Bahrain we will know more. I want to be the best of all. 2009 was a good year for me, and now I am working very hard to make this new season even better.”

He appears to have lost none of his competitive nature, adding:

“Out on the circuit everybody is your ‘enemy’, it doesn’t matter who it is. In the end you have to beat them all.”

Barber Motorsports Park F1 test to be closed to public

The bottom hairpin of the Barber Motorsport Park

The bottom hairpin of the Barber Motorsport Park

Barber Motorsport Park have confirmed that the USF1 test, which is scheduled for some time middle to late February, will be closed off to the public.

A statement read as follows:

“In regards to the USF1 test, we are still in negotiations at this point. If the test does come to Barber Motorsports Park, it will be closed to the public.”

This must be a disappointment to F1 fans in America, who were planning to go see the testing event. It will not help the team’s image either, despite pledging to get closer to the fans than other teams.

Coulthard: Schumacher will still be ruthless

David Coulthard at the Autosport International

David Coulthard at the Autosport International

David Coulthard has warned the younger generation of Formula 1 that Michael Schumacher’s ruthlessness may surprise them this year.

The Scotsman has had several infamous clashes with the German, such as in Belgium 1998. He believes that Michael’s tough tactics may be an eye-opener for the younger drivers.

Speaking at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham, he said:

“Well, Michael is an incredible champion in F1. He has won 90-odd grands prix and seven world championships. So I would be surprised if he is surprised that F1 is difficult.”

“I actually think it will be more the other way. I think the young generation will be surprised just how ruthless Michael can be to achieve his goals. That is the thing I am curious to see – does he still have that last little killer instinct that made Michael such a dominant force in F1 before?”

Also, Coulthard admits he is fascinated to see how he gets on, after spending 3 years on the sidelines. He had previously said he never expected him to return, after 2006.

“I am surprised,” he explained. “Three years out of F1. He has been off doing motorbikes and all sorts of other things, but to come back and sign a three-year contract to comeback at 41 years old – that is tremendously exciting for motorsport in general.”

“He is a great champion, seven world championships, and he is a generation ago. Now he is coming back and mixing with all these young guys in their young twenties. I think it is fulfilling for guys like Lewis Hamilton who never had the chance to go wheel-to-wheel with Michael.”

“And however tough Michael has been in the past, there is nothing quite like trying to argue over the apex with Schumacher because he defined the whole new era of motor racing.”

“So I am curious to know will he be as aggressive and ultimately as quick as he was in the main part of his first career.”