Daily Archives: January 17, 2010

Mercedes’ driver status is Ross Brawn’s call

Michael Schumacher with Ross Brawn

Michael Schumacher with Ross Brawn

The Mercedes chief, Dieter Zetsche, has said that it is up to Ross Brawn whether Michael Schumacher will get number one status within the team.

Over his career, Schumacher has had a history of Ross Brawn favouring him over the second driver, most notably Rubens Barrichello. The fact that Schuamcher’s team mates could not compete with him gave him a significant advantage over his career.

In an interview with Gazetto dello Sport, Dieter Zetsche said:

“We have a team manager for this. Ross Brawn is one of the best. If he wasn’t he wouldn’t have won both titles last year, despite his team being in their debut. He will decide and it will be the best for the drivers and the constructor.”

He was then asked how he felt hiring a driver who had been retired for three years. He responded:

“We are convinced that Michael will do well and that he’ll win again. Maybe not immediately, let’s give him some time, but an ace never disappoints. I’ve been impressed by his enthusiasm. Rather than a return, it seems to me like a new debut.”

Michael Schumacher will race in the Mercedes team this year alongside fellow German Nico Rosberg.

No equalising of F1 engines for 2010

The Cosworth CA2010 engines, being used for 5 teams this year

The Cosworth CA2010 engines, being used for 5 teams this year

The FIA has decided that engine equalisation will not take place for 2010.

Engine equalisation is the process where all the different types of engines (4 of them next year) are balanced out in terms of performance, fuel consumption and reliabilty, by adding, removing, retuning and adjusting certain engine mechanics.

Engines in Formula 1 have been frozen (no development allowed) since 2008. However, teams  were allowed to change parts of the engine for reliabilty reasons. But, some engines had a definitive power advantage, and Renault were left behind. The Mercedes engine, for example, is believed to produce 18bhp more than the Renault engine, which is worth around to 3 tenths of a second per lap.

However, this season there will be an even bigger problem with the engines – fuel consumption. The Renault engine, if filled with the same amount of fuel as the Mercedes engine, can do 3 more laps. Because refuelling is banned for next year, it means that Renault can save around 7kg in fuel, which is a massive advantage to have. The Ferrari engines are the most thirsty engines on track, and they will be hugely disadvantaged by this.

Cosworth, as we know, will be returning to supplying F1 engines for the first time since 2006. The FIA has allowed them to develop their engine, as long as it balances out against the other teams. It is apparent that the most important factor for the engines next year will be the fuel consumption. If Cosworth fail to get their engines up to scratch, it will severely damage the Williams, Lotus, Virgin, USF1 and Campos teams.

So, if engines remain around the same as they did last year, Red Bull will be at the biggest advantage here. Their Renault engine means they have 7kg extra in ballast to move around, meaning more flexibility in their chassis design. Provided that Adrian Newey can deliver the goods, they may well be the team to beat next year.

Di Resta closing in on Force India drive (includes interview video)

Paul Di Resta testing for Force India last December

Paul Di Resta testing for Force India last December

Current DTM driver, Paul Di Resta, says that he is currently closing in on a contract as a test driver for Force India for this season.

He has driven a Force India before, in the young driver test last December, and impressed with getting 2nd fastest laps in 2 days out of 3. Regarding this test, Di Resta was happy, saying:

“Yeah. We had a very difficult year in the DTM last year. It did not get off to the best start but then, during the year, we started talking to Force India. And thankfully they gave me an opportunity to go down to Jerez and do three half days in the car.”

“It was a big opportunity and something I have waited a long time to do, to get a serious chance to drive the car, and it was very productive. We came out very strong and also moved forward and built a relationship with Force India.”

He is currently in negotiations with Vijay Mallya and the Force India team regarding a test driver contract for this year. Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi have already locked out the race seats. He stated:

“Things are moving along quite strong. Since the test for sure we have been in talks, and I would say we are about 90 per cent there. We are in the final stages of finishing off for the programme they have set and hopefully we can build a very long and strong relationship for me to try and race with Force India in the future.”

Di Resta also added that he may not be able to compete in DTM in the future with Merceedes, having spent 3 years with the team.

A full interview with Paul Di Resta, at the Autosport International, is available here:

Kubica visits Renault factory

Robert Kubica visits the Renault factory in Enstone

Robert Kubica visits the Renault factory in Enstone

Robert Kubica has made his first appearance at the Renault factory in Enstone, before he makes his debut for the team in testing next month.

Also, Robert met new team principal Eric Boullier at the trip. Their car, the Renault R30, will be launched on January 31st, and will first test on February 1st. The second driver has not yet been announced.

Also, looking at Robert’s fleece, hopefully that is an indicator towards Renault’s team colours this year. I would personally love to see the old black and yellow livery back.

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