Tag Archives: Mercedes

Hamilton back on the circuit at the Abu Dhabi test this week

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Today, Lewis Hamilton is back in action in Abu Dhabi as he samples Pirelli’s 2017 tyres.

With less than fourty-eight hours after losing the title to team mate Nico Rosberg, Hamilton was called upon by Mercedes to assume tyre testing duties initially assigned this morning to Pascal Wehrlein.

It’s not clear why Mercedes have decided to change its line-up and split its testing  workload but perhaps it felt compelled to call upon Hamilton as a bit of retribution for balking at team orders during Sunday  evening’s showdown in the closing stages of the race.

Mercedes will run Hamilton in the morning and Wehrlein this afternoon, while Ferrari and Red Bull will also take to the track with Kimi Raikkonen on hand, and Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

Pirelli’s next extensive test is scheduled on February 27 in Barcelona, where all 2017 cars will appear.

Hamilton “super excited” with nothing to lose

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In an interview with the media today, Lewis Hamilton says he is “super excited” for the final race of the 2016 Formula 1 season, knowing he has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

The Briton heads into the race starting from pole position knowing he must win, but even that won’t be enough as he needs team-mate Nico Rosberg to encounter trouble and finish fourth or lower, therefore the championship is out of his hands.

In his interview with the media, Hamilton is happy with what he has achieved so far and is happy with how the weekend is shaping up. Hamilton said the following:-

‘It has been a great weekend so far. Today, this weekend, I got the car in the sweet spot and faultless mechanics again.

‘I knew I had pace throughout the rest of the lap. I didn’t overcook it into Turn 1, that was where there was a little bit of time [to gain], otherwise the rest of the lap I had it under control, so maximising those areas.

‘I am sitting on pole here right now. I feel energetic, I feel confident. Having lost the championship in 2007 – I knew what it felt like. But I have everything to gain tomorrow so I am super excited about it.’

No matter the outcome, Hamilton further says in his interview that he will be proud of what he’s achieved this season, with many of his lost points a result of reliability problems rather than driving errors, and knowing he’s done his best is what counts. Hamilton added the following:-

‘I came here to drive like I have been doing. If I perform at my best in these [last few] races I can be here knowing I gave everything and can walk away feeling proud.

‘I have other things coming away but managed to battle through all of the adversity I faced this year and I am proud of it.’

Brawn fears 2017 rules will still lead to one team dominating

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In an interview with the media yesterday, Ross Brawn fears the introduction of major regulation changes next season will only lead to more of the same, whereby one team gets it right and dominates, whilst the others spend two or three seasons playing catch up.

That has happened on several occasions, recently with Brawn and Red Bull and now with Mercedes. The Anglo-German outfit has won 50 of the 58 races since the introduction of the hybrid-V6 power unit and only now are its rivals beginning to catch up.

In his interview with the media yesterday, Brawn suspects that will happen again, and whilst it might not be Mercedes that is leading, it will inevitably be one of the major teams. Brawn said the following:-

‘What you may well see next year is somebody takes an interpretation of the regulations, gets ahead of the game and has a big advantage. I don’t know who that might be, but you could easily see someone disappearing [into the distance].’

Further on in his interview with the media, Brawn suggests leaving the regulations stable for a longer period of time would do the spectacle some good. Brawn added the following:-

‘I think the reality is the longer you leave the regulations the same, the closer the teams get – and you are starting to see that now. Mercedes is still winning but people are starting to nip at their heels and more time with the same regulations would make that even closer I’m sure.’

Finally Brawn is also concerned by the new rules themselves. Whilst they’re likely to achieve the targeted five-second per lap improvement, it won’t necessarily lead to better racing. Brawn stated the following:-

‘To drive that car at maximum speed for 50, 60 or 70 laps is going to be very challenging for the drivers. Therefore, I think you’ll see more variation during a race of drivers fatiguing and losing performance – that will be a positive element.

‘[But] most of the performance gain appears to be from aerodynamic benefits and I’m always a little bit nervous about that because of the relationship between the cars on the track.

‘The more aerodynamic performance you create, the more sensitive you are to the wake of the car in front. It’s not always the case, because the aerodynamics can be profiled and shaped and managed to reduce that impact, but inherently that is the case. So I hope these regulations aren’t going to impact the ability of these cars to race together.’

Mercedes withdraw official protest after the Japanese GP

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Mercedes has withdrawn the protest against Max Verstappen at the Japanese Grand Prix, yesterday and allowed the FIA to publish the official race classification four and half hours after the chequered flag fell at Suzuka.

Shortly after the race, Mercedes initially protested Verstappen’s defence of second place from Lewis Hamilton at Suzuka’s final chicane, arguing that Verstappen drove erratically and in a dangerous manner. However, by the time the protest had been lodged and the stewards convened for a hearing, both Hamilton and Verstappen had left the circuit and were unable to give evidence.

Under FIA procedure, the stewards decided to defer the investigation to the U.S. Grand Prix, meaning the result of the Japanese Grand Prix was set to remain provisional until the next round in two weeks. At that point Mercedes withdrew the protest, just one hour and 20 minutes after it had been officially lodged.

The plot appeared to thicken soon after when Hamilton took to Twitter to say: “There is no protest from either myself or @MercedesAMGF1. One idiot said we have but it’s not true. Max drove well, end of. We move on.”

It is not clear who Hamilton was referring to as an “idiot”, but the tweet was later removed and replaced with the following post.

 

Asked why the protest had been withdrawn, a Mercedes spokesperson said the following:-

“We have done this in the interests of establishing a final official result this evening once it became apparent that the hearing could not be concluded today.”

As a result, Verstappen will keep his second place finish at Suzuka ahead of Hamilton in third.

Mercedes could secure Constructors Championship in Malaysia

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The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team is in the running to secure the 2016 constructors’ championship at next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

Mercedes currently leads the constructors’ standings by 222 points and needs to finish within seven points of closest rivals Red Bull in Sepang and within 22 points of Ferrari to secure the title for a third consecutive season.

To put it simply, a victory and any other points-scoring position would secure the title for Mercedes, as would second and third if Red Bull win. However, if Red Bull finishes first and second or first and third, it can guarantee Mercedes’ champagne celebrations will be put on ice for at least another round.

Mercedes has won (and had the other driver finish in the points) at every race this season apart from the Spanish Grand Prix when Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton collided.

Last year Mercedes won the title a round earlier at the 15th race of the season, but the calendar was two races shorter. But the longer calendar also means that if Mercedes wins in Malaysia it will do so with one extra race remaining than it had in 2015.

However, the Drivers Championship is a much closer affair with Rosberg leading Hamilton by eight points with six races remaining.

Mercedes and Ferrari test Pirell’s 2017 tyres

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Yesterday at the Paul Ricard circuit, Pirelli’s 2017 tyre testing got underway with Ferrari and Mercedes helping to develop its prototype tyres at two different circuits.

Mercedes will be testing the new wider tyres at the Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France over a three-day test, while Ferrari is testing for two days at the Circuit de Catalunya outside Barcelona. The tests are designed to help Pirelli develop its constructions and compounds for 2017 and are conducted “blind” so as not to give an advantage to the teams participating. Data from the test will be analysed by Pirelli and circulated to all 11 teams in the interest of fairness.

With Manor driver Pascal Wehrlein was at the wheel of the modified Mercedes W06 at Paul Ricard while Ferrari’s regular race driver Kimi Raikkonen took to the wheel of the SF15-T mule car at the Circuit de Catalunya. They are the third and fourth tests of Pirelli’s ten-test schedule for 2016 and are both focused on developing the slick tyres rather than the wets.

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The wider tyres will be twinned with a significant step in downforce levels next year in the hope of reducing lap times by as much as five seconds. Pirelli is in regular communication with the teams about the development of the 2017 cars in an attempt to understand the forces its tyres are going to be subject to and develop accordingly.

Pirelli is hoping to minimise the performance degradation of the 2017 tyres, which has been a major factor in races since 2011. The hope is to develop a tyre that allows drivers to push throughout a grand prix distance while still having multiple pit stops during a race. Pirelli is also optimistic the wider contact patch will allow it to reduce the high tyre pressure prescriptions it has needed to introduce in the last two years as downforce levels have increased.

Rosberg signs new contract with Mercedes

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It was announced this morning that Nico Rosberg has signed a two-year contract extension with Mercedes ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Rosberg who has finished runner-up to teammate Lewis Hamilton in the past two seasons, announced the news in a stylish video on his Twitter feed. The new deal will keep Rosberg at Mercedes until the end of the 2018 season, and the team later tweeted the words “signed, sealed, delivered” over a picture of the contract.

In a press release to the media this morning, the Mercedes team announced Rosberg’s extension as follows:-

‘We are delighted to announce that the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team has signed a two-year contract extension with Nico Rosberg for the 2017 and 2018 Formula One seasons.

‘Nico has been a core member of the Silver Arrows since the team returned to the sport in 2010 and has played a crucial role in the team’s success in that time.’

Both Rosberg and Mercedes had been hinting at a contract extension for several months and the news now puts to rest any speculation over the team’s driver line-up for the next two and a half years. It also means the contracts of Rosberg and Hamilton are due to expire at the same point at the end of the 2018 season, lining up two more seasons of their inter-team rivalry.

Rosberg joined Mercedes from Williams in 2010 when the German manufacturer returned to the sport after buying the championship-winning Brawn GP team. In that time the German has scored all of his 19 career victories as well as taking 45 podiums.