Daily Archives: July 3, 2010

Rosberg running out of patience

Nico Rosberg has blasted his Mercedes GP team’s worsening form this year, claiming that he moved to the team to win races, but the car is now disintegrating into a “disaster”. Having been 2nd in the championship at one point this year, Rosberg is now 7th, and has only obtained 25 points from the last 5 races.

Nico Rosberg is furious that his former team Williams have overtaken Mercedes

Nico Rosberg is furious that his former team Williams have overtaken Mercedes

Before the season began, we were all speculating as to how Nico would cope with driving alongside 7-times world champion Michael Schumacher, and would the team favour one over the other. Aside from rumours that the team were developing the car to Schumacher’s taste and not Rosberg, Nico has completely obliterated his team-mate, with more than double Schumacher’s points. However, the pace of the Mercedes car has collapsed in recent races, and Rosberg appears to be running out of patience.

After the European Grand Prix, it emerged that both Mercedes cars were suffering from brake difficulties, forcing both drivers to back off throughout the race. However, Nico’s true thoughts seem to come out at the end of this statement:

"I had a bad first lap because one of the Force India’s did
something stupid and I had to avoid him. Otherwise there would
have been a crash. Then my brakes wouldn’t have lasted, so I
had to take it easy for the whole race. I was just driving
round wasting time."

However, both Mercedes cars were out-qualified by the two Williams cars in Valencia, something that Rosberg is furious about. With the Cologne Express, he said:

"This is a disaster. The problem with the tyres is well-known within
the team. For weeks, we have said we would move forward but nothing 
[has] happened – in fact, we’re going backwards. If you start in 
twelfth behind both Williams’ [in Valencia], who were nowhere weeks 
ago, what can you expect from there? I went from Williams to Mercedes
because I thought I’d have a car capable of winning.”

Now that Williams, and many other teams, have the upper hand on Mercedes, Nico has no reason to be optimistic about the rest of the season. While Schumacher is pushing for the team to focus on development of the 2011 car, Ross Brawn has indicated that the Mercedes team will continue to develop this year’s car for now.

However, at this stage, there is little point in pushing for anything this year, as Mercedes’s recent loss in form has crushed any hopes of a good finishing position. Renault are set to overtake them in the constructors’ championships soon, and Force India could well come close to the team, though they have little chance of getting past. A 5th place finish in the standings would be a disaster, considering the line-up that they have available to them.

2010 Mid-season review: Force India

Last year, there was no doubt that Force India had a fantastic low-downforce package, as shown by their shock performances in Belgium and Italy. While the team only amassed 13 points across these 2 races, and therefore the season, it was well-known that the team would have to develop a medium-downforce specification if they were to make the next jump. So far, the VJM03 has done exactly that, and has made excellent progress to begin challenging the top teams.

Paul di Resta could be the key to allowing Force India compete with Renault and Mercedes

Paul di Resta could be the key to allowing Force India compete with Renault and Mercedes

At the start of the season, it was Vitantonio Liuzzi who was getting the points, with 2 consecutive top 10 finishes in Bahrain and Australia. After this, Adrian Sutil became the driving force of the team, with a 5th place in Malaysia, and has since got 5 points-scoring finishes in a row, leaving him with an impressive 31 points.

Liuzzi, meanwhile,  has only 12 points, after 3 9th places and a 7th position finish. His drive was in doubt before the Canadian Grand Prix, but a very good 6th place in qualifying seemed to quell these fears. But, a first lap collision with Felipe Massa appeared to ruin his chances of a points finish, but he recovered to get 9th place, still ahead of his team-mate. In Valencia, when Sutil drove from 13th on the grid to 6th, Liuzzi had no pace, and fell from 14th to 16th.

It seems odd that Vitantonio continues to drive at Force India, when there is a fantastic talent sitting on the sidelines, called Paul di Resta. This man, in 2006, beat Sebastian Vettel in the Formula 3 championship, so I am at a loss to explain why he is not racing in Formula 1. He has been allowed to occasionally race in FP1 sessions (3 times this year so far), and once beat Liuzzi when he took over Sutil’s car. Certainly he should be allowed a proper opportunity in F1, even at the expense of Liuzzi.

Aside from the drivers themselves, the car must also be improved if the team are to challenge the top 5 in the championship. While their Mercedes unit is well up to the task, and their new exhaust blown diffuser is on the way, a high-end aerodynamic package must be available to the team if they are to be competitive at every race.

This is not to imply that Force India need dire improvements, just that if they are to make more progress, changes must be made, most notably replacing Liuzzi with Di Resta.

2010 Mid-season review: Williams

In recent years, it has become impossible to count how many times Williams claim that they will bounce back up the grid, with a new upgrade or change to the car. 2010 has been no different, with lacklustre performances all throughout the season, despite a good line-up of drivers, or so it would seem.

Nico Hulkenberg needs to improve if Williams are to make progress

Nico Hulkenberg needs to improve if Williams are to make progress

Actually, at the start of the season, it didn’t seem this way. Rubens Barrichello qualified 9 tenths off Sebastian Vettel’s time, and nearly got through to Q3. In the race, Rubens was 10th, scoring one point, while GP2 champion Nico Hulkenberg was 14th. However since then, their form hasn’t improved. Despite a few points finishes, their pace has been consistently mediocre, and a small amount of retirements highlights this fact.

After the loss of Nico Rosberg to Mercedes, Williams must have known that it would have been difficult to finish many races in the points like they did last year. His replacement, Barrichello, has finished 4 races in the points, while Hulkenberg has only one, with a solitary point in Malaysia. Since then, Hulkenberg’s best finsish was 13th in Canada, well below what would be expected of the reigning GP2 champion.

After Rubens finished an excellent 4th in Valencia, which was aided by the safety car, has has 19 points to his tally, while Nico has only one. I think that Rubens is doing as well as he can, whereas Nico needs to seriously up his game to help push Williams through the field. His pointless crash in Spanish practice showed that he trying very hard, but needs to be more mature in the car.

So far, Williams’s performance has been quite disappointing this year. Their progress for the 2010 season depends on 2 factors: better development of the car, and Hulkenberg. Williams are set to unveil their new exhaust-blown diffuser at Silverstone, which will provide another performance boost to the car. It is up to the drivers – especially Hulkenberg – to make the most of it.