Nico's outcry as Mercedes falter.

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
After all the hype coming from Ross Brawn and the Mercedes team both pre-season, and after disappointing GP's in recent weeks, the bubble seems to have burst for Ross Brawn and his Championship winning team.
Nico has come out in the press:

http://www.motorsport.com/news/article.asp?ID=375638,

And branded the 2010 Mercedes as a 'disaster'.

The outburst from Rosberg comes after a string of poor results, despite maintaing a healthy lead over his more famous team mate.

The plight of the Mercedes has been fraught with problems since the initial testing stage, with early signs indicating a car that struggled for balance and suffered from problems with the tyres, a modification to the wheel base after several races in Barcelona unfortunately failed to solve this issue.

An eye catching upgrade to the air intakes and engine cover aimed at improving aero efficiency has also appeared to be ineffective.

Mercedes hopes were tied up in effectively exploiting the blown diffuser concept that was expected to show greater improvements at Valencia, however, with Ferrari, Renault and Williams also introducing the concept they have seemed to make little gains in comparison, and in fact, have slipped even further back to be comprehensively out qualified by Williams.

This latest set back may be seen to be the straw that breaks the camels back, with Ross Brawn alluding to the fact that it may be time to concentrate on the 2011 challenger if the next aero upgrade appears to be just as ineffective.

To be fair to the Brawn/Mercedes team, it would have been almost as great an achievement to build a title challenging car for this year as it was winning the championship in 2009. We have seen the likes of McLaren and Ferrari fail miserably to contend for a championship after a hard fought title challenge in previous seasons and it would be unfair to expect anything different from the newest world champions. A battle right to the end of the season for a team working with minimal funds, lower levels of staffing coupled with a take over in the off season is likely to cause problems for any team and as such a lack of competitiveness is understandable.

Rosberg, Schumacher and their fans will all be hoping for an improved performance next season, and with Ross Brawn at the helm, and backing from one of the greatest German manufacturers, a resurrection of the 2009 championship form is a distinct possibility, especially if more time is given over to development for 2011.


Brogon - Whats the BB code for text wrapping?? Cheers :)
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Interesting article. I suppose one could say that Mercedes' performance this year hasn't been too much different from BAR or Honda in the pre-Earth car days? The differences being now, of course, that (1) they've got Ross Brawn (++) but (2) they've got much less money (--).

It must have been fun for Nico to watch Rubens and The Hulk tearing off into the distance in 'his' old car at Valencia. Although his bank balance should provide some comfort, I would have thought.

Definitely time for the team to concentrate on 2011 I think. Unless they want to continue spending time trying to unlock speed from their no.2 driver instead? Speed that may, or may not, be present...
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Great thread MD.

From what I can understand, a lot of Mercedes' problems stem from the fact that they are unable to "switch on" the tyres, as Martin Brundle is so fond of saying, as well as some of the other teams.

Michael himself has said he doesn't understand the slicks and without in season testing, the only time he gets on the track is during practice, qualifying and the race.
It was quite clear in Valencia that Michael was treating it as a test session (after his race was ruined) due to the number of tyre changes he made.

Is there anything fundamentally wrong with the chassis and aero?
For the first 4 races Nico was qualifying in the top 5 so it can't have been that far off the pace.
Since then of course a lot of teams have had major upgrades and Mercedes themselves have made changes to the chassis.

It would be interesting to see the relative performance now if they went back to using the original chassis design.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
It seems that Rosberg feels he has been sold a little bit of a pup here - he was expecting a "Top 4" performance, and was outqualified this week by:
  1. Red Bull
  2. McLaren
  3. Ferrari
  4. Renault
  5. Williams
  6. Toro Rosso

I would also see the frustration if the car was developed towards Schumacher, back when he was second in the WDC.

It is also easy to see from this graph that Mercedes performance is not improving:



As for persevering with Schumacher, this graph shows the idiocy of that, in my opinion:



However, I'm not sure that we expected the car, built by Brawn with no money and fighting a losing developmental battle in 2009 (although they won the war), to be challenging with a resurgent Ferrari, a developmental McLaren and, of course, Red Bull.

However, I feel Nick Heidfeld would do a better job than the geriatric former champion.
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
teabagyokel said:
However, I feel Nick Heidfeld would do a better job than the geriatric former champion.
Hard to avoid that conclusion really, isn't it. How long before Nick is in the newspapers too I wonder?

Regarding the "switching on" of tyres, I was interested to read in Autosport this week that FOTA are mandating a (voluntarily agreed) 46F/54R weight distribution for all teams for next season, with a 0.5% tolerance either side, to avoid one team hitting on the correct distribution for the Pirelli tyres "by accident". So that, unpleasant idea as it sounds, could help Mercedes.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
I think one of the problems with the Merc is that last season it was a bit of a one trick pony. After the rest of the teams caught up with the "Double Diffuser" development, Button and Barrichello's lead over the others disappeared. If those upgrades had occurred one or two races earlier then I don't think that Button would have taken the title.

Since then and moving into this season they've struggled to find another (as Colin Chapman used to call it) unfair advantage over the others and as Sir G points out they've slipped back towards the performances that you saw from the team pre 2008.

I think we can safely suggest now that while it was a great PR job for the team to have Schumacher behind the wheel its turning out to be something of a mistake now. How much longer Schuey can hang on to his seat remains to be seen but it would be a pretty big humiliation for him to get the shove. For every race he slips further from the front of the grid it serves to undo a little more of his phenomenal reputation as one of the greats of all time.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Galahad said:
Regarding the "switching on" of tyres, I was interested to read in Autosport this week that FOTA are mandating a (voluntarily agreed) 46F/54R weight distribution for all teams for next season, with a 0.5% tolerance either side, to avoid one team hitting on the correct distribution for the Pirelli tyres "by accident". So that, unpleasant idea as it sounds, could help Mercedes.
What!?
That's ridiculous.
F1 is already too much of a spec' series so to start dictating on weight distribution and the like is just another step too far
 

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
Cheers for the kind comments guys,

Interesting point there Galahad, I suppose this agreements at least give Pirelli something to develop towards! I wonder if Nico will find himself in Jenson's position for the initial portion of his career.

In regards to the tyre switching on problem, I'm pretty confident that even if the did magically find the answer to this problem they would still be a ways behind the rest of the grid. (Again Galahad, agree that this standard weight distribution should help them at least not be as disadvantaged next season).

Are you aware if the weight distribution agreement is only in place for 1 season?

Brogon, seems pretty clear that MS really needs to find out how to use the tyres, after the years of grooved tyres he seems to have forgotten how to drive on slicks. I suppose the rest of the grid has had 2 years to learn though. He also seems to be struggling getting the balance with the smaller front tyres.

Have no fear though, if things continue along the same lines he will have many more 'test' sessions in future races
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
MajorDanby said:
Are you aware is the weight distribution agreement is only in place for 1 season?
I think so Major, yes, given that it will be several months before Pirelli have got finalised tyres, and by then the teams will be well down the road with their designs.

I flippin' hope so anyway!
 

snowy

Champion Elect
Whilst I can sympathise with Nico and Mercedes dilema, I can't help thinking that this is a media led exclaimation of despair. They have run the new exhaust blown aero package just the once, no team or driver should expect to get a handle on an exhaust blown rear diffuser. It is a very complex piece of kit and subject to a whole host of variables that are incredibly difficult to simulate using CFD and a wind tunnel.

If they were expecting a silver bullet then they are in an even more profound state of turmoil than any of us can imagine. :o

What we need to see is the questions that Nico was asked and hear how they were asked. I suspect that the inteviewer put a lot of those words/thoughts/despair into Nico's mouth or head. He is not normally a demonstrative character and in all those years at Williams he never once mouthed off about how let down he felt.
 

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
snowy said:
Whilst I can sympathise with Nico and Mercedes dilema, I can't help thinking that this is a media led exclaimation of despair. They have run the new exhaust blown aero package just the once, no team or driver should expect to get a handle on a exhaust blown rear diffuser. It is a very complex piece of kit and subject to a whole host of variables that are incredibly difficult to simulate using CFD and a wind tunnel.
Agreed snowy, it would take some time to get the most out of the system. I think that their main worrying point, however, is that somehow they've managed to get passed by Williams and Toro Rosso. I think the best they can hope for, is that their blown diffuser concept is flawed, but in a simple recognisable way, allowing a relatively quick fix.
 

Wombcat

Podium Finisher
MajorDanby said:
To be fair to the Brawn/Mercedes team, it would have been almost as great an achievement to build a title challenging car for this year as it was winning the championship in 2009. We have seen the likes of McLaren and Ferrari fail miserably to contend for a championship after a hard fought title challenge in previous seasons and it would be unfair to expect anything different from the newest world champions. A battle right to the end of the season for a team working with minimal funds, lower levels of staffing coupled with a take over in the off season is likely to cause problems for any team and as such a lack of competitiveness is understandable.
You got a point. But after a bad start last year, Ferrari and McLaren were improving. They were nowhere in the beginning, but both managed to win some races later on, and performed better in qualifying.

Mercedes mostly seems to move backwards, not forward. That's not explained by the efforts last year. That's a bad effort this year.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
I still think that the testing ban (barring Ferraris "PR" sessions) makes any team's improvements very much a crap shoot. Some will luck into having it right and some will not. unfortunately, the ban makes it hard to eliminate any bugs from the cars during the season. For this reason, among many others, I firmly believe that the ban should be dumped. The "cost saving" aspect of it is laughable. If the FIA really wants to reduce costs, they should eliminate most of the required travel, which is hideously expensive.(My choice to remedy this is: bring more races back to Europe--all venues can be reached by truck, not airplane. Then make a swing thru North America-cover Canada, the U.S. and Mexico in one round, then limit Asia to Japan and China)

I also think that people are being unduly harsh on MS. It is the TEAM that is not performing. People forget that last year's success may well have been more luck than anything-they used to be Honda, and, as such, were pitiful. Last year may have more like the first year of Walter Wolf racing which nearly won the WDC in their first year and stunk up the grid thereafter. Furthermore, the design success at Ferrari was due to Byrne, NOT Brawn. Ross' genius was in-race tactics, a skill which is much devalued with the elimination of refueling, but still requiring at least one chage of tyres. Lastly, Nico would not be one of my top half-dozen choices for a driver to develop a car. To me, he has shown virtually no talent in that arena. He can do a lot with what he is given, but doesn't seem able to improve it.
 

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
I'm afraid I completely disagree with you about the testing ban.

The ban has bought the emphasis back to careful planning, analysis and redevelopment. It is much more of a thinking game now compared to the unfettered testing of the late nineties/early noughties. There teams were bringing all manner of different pieces, spending money and testing to exhaustion. The result? The only teams that were able to compete were those with with the required money, with smaller teams standing next to no chance. Not only that, but during the off season the cars were mostly fully developed, with every system optimised before they even touched the tarmac in anger.

This lead to much less excitement during the season, as generally the teams at the top stayed at the top. There was little interest from the fans in teams bringing updates to the grands prix, as generally they did nothing to change the pecking order.

My only fault with the testing ban is the difficulty for young and upcoming drivers. Something needs to be addressed to give these youngsters a fair chance. FP1 only for test drivers maybe? Under a certain age?

As regards MS, I agree that some of the comments have been unfair, but the fact remains he is struggling immensely this season, both with the changes to the tyres, and the revival of refuelling. The team may not be performing, but neither is he. In the Schumacher era, there is no doubt in my mind that Bryne was a technical genius, however, Brawn was the glue that brought and held them together. Much more than a simple tactical genius.

I'd have to agree with your comments regarding Nico.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
I fall somewhere between the two positions.

We saw the effect of the testing ban last season; Brawn had such a huge advantage over the rest of the grid that by the time they caught up it was too late and the season was over.
That wasn't good for the fans or F1.

This year it's much closer but the new teams are so far behind the established teams that they have no chance and with such poor reliability and no previous data or design to fall back on, they're limited to a few hours of testing at most every 2 weeks or so.

I would support pre- and in-season testing for new teams to allow them to close the gap and put them on a more even playing field.

I would also support pre-season testing for new drivers.

Limited in-season testing could also be permitted for established teams, this would allow them to overcome serious design flaws more quickly, such as McLaren last season and Mercedes this season.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
So, how about a more sensible limit to testing, say, in a 20 race season, have a test day after every 5th race, but disallow any drivers over the age of 25 from competing?

How 'bout that?
 

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
I'd be quite happy with such a compromise. :)

As you say in season testing only for young test drivers however :thumbsup:
 
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