Tag: Mercedes

F1: Mercedes completes shakedown of 2015 car

Mercedes has offered a glimpse its new car, the W06, during its track debut at a filming day at Silverstone.

The car is not set to be officially launched until the morning of the first day of testing on Sunday, but the team offered a series of teaser videos via its Twitter feed before publishing photos of the new car.

The W06 will be the car to beat this year after Mercedes dominated the championship in 2014. It hit the track at 13:13 and completed 18 laps before a blizzard cut the running short. Nico Rosberg went first but world champion Lewis Hamilton also got his first taste of the new car before the weather came in.

Both drivers will be back in action next week in Jerez, with Rosberg kicking off the test on Sunday and driving again on Tuesday while Hamilton will drive on Monday and Wednesday.

Read more at ESPN

F1: Mercedes: Importance of aero underrated

Mercedes technical boss Paddy Lowe says the importance of aerodynamics under F1’s new engine regulations should not be underrated.

Mercedes’ V6 turbo power unit is often credited for the team’s success in 2014 and was more powerful and efficient than rivals Renault and Ferrari. However, Lowe was keen to stress that the team’s aerodynamic package, which featured some pioneering designs, was more important than it has been in recent years.

“A lot of the talk of the new formula has been about power units, but actually aerodynamics have become more crucial than ever,” he told the 2014-2015 Autocourse annual. “Incorporating the power unit in a car with the minimum aero impact is more important than before, not less.”

Among Mercedes’ aerodynamic innovations was a unique front suspension layout, which featured a compact and forked lower wishbone rather than the wide ‘V’ shape used elsewhere. Although difficult to design from a structural point of view, it helped improve the airflow around the front tyres and therefore improve front wing performance and aid airflow to the sidepods.

“The front suspension was a big part of the aero performance and that project was started in June/July of 2013,” Lowe added. “To make it work structurally was quite difficult. But we could see fairly early that it was feasible, so we went with that aero concept and let the structures guys loose on it.”

Lowe said another key factor was cooling, so as to package the new power unit with minimal drag.

“A good part of the story has been cooling efficiencies that were achieved. We did it bit by bit, pushing the efficiency of each part of the cooling circuit up, and that’s what brings the sizes down. Your first go at it is not nearly as good as your 27th go. Initially it had looked like the whole story of the car was going to be, ‘How are you going to get in enough heat-exchange areas to get the job done?’ By the time we arrived with a car that seemed little different to the year before in terms of radiator area etcetera, that felt pretty amazing as an achievement.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: Mercedes & McLaren to change colours in 2015

New year, new colours according to reports.

At least two top teams will enter the 2015 season with fundamentally different colour schemes, it has emerged.

Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo reports that new reigning champions Mercedes intend to switch from silver to a striking mirror-like chrome paint-job this year.

The report said the special chrome paint for the 2015 livery is called ‘Kromo’, and will also be supplied to wheel supplier OZ for the title-defending W06 raced by world champion Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

The same Spanish sports newspaper reports that with Mercedes stepping up its iconic silver look, Woking based McLaren is tipped for a complete livery U-turn in 2015.

McLaren turned silver in 1997, at the height of its works collaboration with Mercedes, but now the famous British team is kicking off its new era with Honda.

El Mundo Deportivo reported: “Honda does not want (McLaren) to continue with silver because it is a colour immediately associated with Mercedes and the ‘Silver Arrows’.

“There are rumours the (2015) car could be orange, McLaren’s traditional colour, for testing. But it could also be white, in a double-tribute: to Honda and also because McLaren’s first F1 car was that colour” in 1966.

“The final choice could depend largely on whether McLaren has a major sponsor in 2015 or not,” the report added.

Read more at motorsport.com

F1: Mercedes will target Alonso if Hamilton deal falls through

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Fernando Alonso would be his main target if he cannot agree terms on a new contract with Lewis Hamilton for 2016.

Hamilton’s current contract is set to expire at the end of the year although both sides have expressed a desire to continue together in 2016.  Negotiations were put on hold during 2014 in order to allow Hamilton to concentrate on the championship and Wolff says there is still no rush to sign a deal just yet in 2015.

“There’s no hurry, it will be discussed during the year,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

However, Hamilton is likely to want more from his new contract while Wolff has talked about doing what is best for Mercedes. Asked what would happen if an agreement could not be reached, Wolff admitted Alonso would be the first alternative.

“I am optimistic [of reaching a deal with Hamilton], the priority is to continue with these two drivers. But if it’s not possible, Alonso is the first alternative. Then there is [Valtteri] Bottas”.

Alonso has signed for McLaren for 2015 and Wolff is expecting the Spaniard to up the team’s competitiveness.

“He’s a dangerous threat in any car. If you have in your hands a car that will finish sixth, he will finish in third place.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: Lewis Hamilton to lose senior engineer Jock Clear to Ferrari

One of Lewis Hamilton’s key technical staff at Mercedes is to leave the team and move to Ferrari.

Jock Clear, Hamilton’s senior performance engineer, will effectively be the replacement for Pat Fry, Ferrari’s former engineering director.

Fry was sacked this week as part of a purge of senior personnel at Ferrari as they seek to arrest years of decline.

Clear is to lead Ferrari’s track-side engineering once he has worked a lengthy notice period with Mercedes.

The 51-year-old handed in his resignation immediately after the final race of the season at the end of November and has a 12-month notice period.

It is unusual for F1 engineers to work out their full notice and an accommodation is likely to be reached with Ferrari over the coming months.

Clear continues to work for Mercedes, who will assess how to reorganise Hamilton’s engineering staff in the new year.

He is likely to be moved away from his current role, which focuses on the cutting edge of performance, given that he is to leave for a major rival.

Clear, who has previously worked with former world champions Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve, had been at the team for 15 years.

He joined British American Racing alongside Villeneuve, with whom he had worked at Williams, when the team were founded in 1999 and stayed through the team’s guises as Honda and Brawn and into Mercedes.

His role at Mercedes was as one of three chassis engineers assigned to Hamilton’s car, assisting the new world champion’s race engineer, the primary contact with the driver, with data analysis.

Mercedes were happy to release Clear as they were unable to offer him a role similar in seniority to his Ferrari position.

Ferrari have also tried to recruit Mercedes’ former technical director Bob Bell, who resigned in April and left the team in November.

Bell, 56, had been lined up for a senior role at Ferrari but is said by insiders to have been unable to take it up in the immediate term because of personal issues.

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: ‘Sometimes management is p*ssed off with me’ – Lauda

Niki Lauda says his no-nonsense attitude has at times rubbed the Mercedes board up the wrong way, but that ultimately he is the best link between the team’s drivers and its management.

Lauda is non-executive chairman of the F1 team, and alongside executive directors Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe makes top-level decisions. As an ex-F1 driver and three-time champion, Lauda has close relationships with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg and said he predicted their on-track collision before the Belgian Grand Prix this year.

However, he admits his forthright manner has at times upset the Mercedes board in Stuttgart, even if he is proved to be right.

“Sometimes management is p*ssed off with me because I tell them what’s going to happen,” he told FIA quarterly magazine Auto. “We had a board meeting in Stuttgart with all our bosses there and I said: ‘They will hit each other’. ‘How can you say this?’ they asked. ‘Because I know.’

“And the drivers know that I also defend them. I’m the only one who speaks the same language – being part of them and part of the management. So we have a very good relationship. They find it very hard to convince me of things I don’t think are right.”

Lauda said the collision at Spa-Francorchamps was the only time the management really needed to intervene with the drivers all year.

“We’ve only had one serious discussion about these things – only in Spa. There was nowhere else we had a problem, so really we’ve had peace between the two, no aggravation. In our meetings before the race they are relaxed, they know what they are doing.

“They know the responsibility for Mercedes – that we want to finish first and second. This is a team order. And then one or the other wins the race and the other one has to be second.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: Hamilton wants to keep number 44 in 2015

Lewis Hamilton plans to break from tradition next season and retain the number 44 on his Mercedes, rather than adopt number one for his title defence.

At the start of the 2014 season F1 drivers picked numbers to remain with them for the remainder of their careers, with Hamilton choosing the number 44 with which he won his first karting title. Sebastian Vettel picked number five at the start of the year but drove with number one on his Red Bull because he was the defending champion, with regulations stating he will switch to his career choice next season at Ferrari.

But newly-crowned 2014 world champion Hamilton, who has the number 44 tattooed behind his right ear, says his current choice means more to him.

“Forty-four has always been my number, ever since I started [racing],” Hamilton said. “I won my first championship on number 44. I’m going to work very hard to ask the team if I can keep 44 on my car next year. Number one is a great thing but I will always know I’m number one. Forty-four is my favourite number so I want to keep it on the car.”

Other motor racing championships, such as Moto GP and IndyCar, often have competitors sticking with their career number when defending a championship. Hamilton says he would not need a change of number on his car for other drivers to know he’s the defending champion.

“It doesn’t make any difference. I’ll still be 44 but underlying that the drivers will know I’m number one.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: Hamilton secures second title with Abu Dhabi victory

Lewis Hamilton finally fulfilled his six-year dream of a second world title by winning the 2014 championship with victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Rival Nico Rosberg saw his hopes slip away with car trouble that eventually dropped him to 14th and out of contention. Hamilton has been waiting for a second world title since he won in dramatic fashion in 2008, but managed to settle his nerves early in the race on Sunday by taking advantage of Rosberg’s poor start and assuming the lead into Turn 1. A problem with Rosberg’s Energy Recovery System (ERS) started to emerge around lap 23, reducing power as well as causing problems under braking. He managed to finish the race, but his hopes of a world title will have to wait at least another year at least. The issue saw Rosberg haemorrhage positions throughout the second half of the race as he tried but failed to hang on to a fifth-place finish – his only chance of taking the title if Hamilton retired. Hamilton reacted by turning down his power settings and nursing his car home, which allowed Felipe Massa in second to close in during the final stint of the race and finish just 2.5s off the Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas took the final place on the podium to round off a resurgent season for Williams and ensure it took third place in the constructors’ championship. Rosberg’s dream started to fade as soon as the lights went out at the start and Hamilton bolted past him to comfortably take the lead into the first corner. He ran a close second to his team-mate for the first half of the race, but a mistake under braking for Turn 17 was the first sign that something had gone awry. Two laps later his team informed him of his ERS issue, which not only reduced power by roughly 160bhp but also made the car unpredictable under braking. By lap 27 he had lost second place to Massa and continued to drop down the order until the chequered flag. Mercedes attempted to retire his car, but Rosberg said he wanted to remain on track until the very end of the race. It hardly seemed like a fitting end to the year-long battle between the two Mercedes drivers, but Hamilton’s 11th victory in 19 races leaves little doubt that 2014 has a very deserving champion. Outside the top three, Daniel Ricciardo pulled off a hugely impressive race from a pit lane start to fourth place at the finish. Both Red Bulls had to start from the pits after qualifying with an illegal front wing, but Ricciardo made up for Saturday’s disappointment in style. McLaren’s Jenson Button took fifth in what may be his final race in Formula One ahead of Nico Hulkenberg who, like Ricciardo, used an alternative strategy to finish sixth for Force India ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez. Summing up his final season for Red Bull before moving to Ferrari, ex-champion Sebastian Vettel could not match team-mate Ricciardo and finished eighth behind Perez. Fernando Alonso took ninth in his final race for Ferrari after his pace dropped off towards the end of the race. Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen finished two seconds off Alonso to take the final point on offer and wave goodbye to a forgettable year with Ferrari. But Hamilton was the star on Sunday night as he held on to achieve his stated aim of securing the title with victory under the lights in Abu Dhabi. As the post-race fireworks made way for the British national anthem on the podium, he was clearly holding back tears of emotion in front of a pit lane packed with his team and supporters below. Read more at ESPN

F1: Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton to Abu Dhabi pole

Nico Rosberg beat Lewis Hamilton to pole position at the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Rosberg was 0.386 seconds faster than his Mercedes team-mate as Hamilton managed to secure second place despite an error-strewn session.

Hamilton is 17 points ahead of Rosberg and needs only to finish second to the German in the race to secure the title.

The Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were third and fourth ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton to Brazil win

Nico Rosberg held off Mercedes team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton to win a race-long battle at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Hamilton fought back to close a seven-second margin after a spin at about one-third distance just as he appeared to be set to take the lead.

But Rosberg did just enough to hold him off in a tense final part of the race.

It reduces Hamilton’slead in the title race to 17 points, with 50 available in the final race in Abu Dhabi.

“I’m very happy with the whole weekend,” said Rosberg. “I’ve been feeling comfortable in the car and controlled the gap to Lewis in the race.”

Hamilton can win the title by finishing second to Rosberg in Abu Dhabi on 23 November, even though double points will be on offer.

But the Englishman may rue a half-spin on lap 28 which, as it turned out, decided the race in Brazil.

Rosberg had made his second pit stop on lap 26, with Hamilton less than two seconds behind him.

Hamilton stayed out. He set the fastest lap of the race to that point next time around, having set three sectors that were the fastest anyone had set up to that point.

The Mercedes engineers calculated that his first lap had not been enough to leapfrog him ahead and decided to keep him out for one more lap to give him extra time to build the advantage he needed.

But he dropped a wheel on to the white line on the entry to Turn Four, the Descido do Lago and ran wide into the run-off area, half-spinning.

Hamilton said: “Ultimately it cost me the win. I was a much quicker up to that point. I went a second quicker, thought I was going to pit on that lap, used all my tyres and on the next lap there was nothing left.

“I locked the rear and went wide. No-one’s mistake but mine.”

The incident cost Hamilton seven seconds, which he reduced to two over the course of their third stint.

Read more on BBC Sport