The debut of the MGP W02, the new Silver Arrow for the 2011 Formula One World Championship, took place this morning at the Valencia Circuit in Spain with the new challenger unveiled in front of the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team garage by Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher.
The result of twelve months intense design and development work, the MGP W02 is the second Silver Arrows car to be launched by MERCEDES GP PETRONAS since the team became the first Mercedes-Benz works outfit since 1955.
The car's livery is an evolution from its predecessor with a striking high-gloss airbrush effect highlighting the shape of the car. The interaction between the Silver Arrows heritage and the green shading representing the team's title partner PETRONAS evokes memories of the first Silver Arrow car of 1934 with a modern touch added by 3D partner logos.
The technical specification of the MGP W02 includes the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery) system which returns to the sport after a one-year absence. The Mercedes KERS system was the first to win a Grand Prix during the 2009 season when KERS made its debut in Formula One. Also new on the car for this season is the adjustable rear wing, operated by the driver to aid overtaking, and Pirelli tyres as the Italian manufacturer becomes the sport's official tyre supplier.
The team's driver line-up remains unchanged with seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, who achieved the team's three podiums in 2010, forming one of the most exciting and talented pairings on the grid.
Michael Schumacher 'Finally the waiting is over and things get started. For us drivers, the break every year is hard to take because the gap between the last race and the first time out on track seems to be never-ending. Even if I have been involved and updated all winter on the developments, and even if I know the improvements are significant, it is still different to see the new car literally for the first time in front of you. You automatically build up this nice pre-start tension. I very much look forward to the new season. We have said it several times already but again, we are really to building up something big together. I am very confident that this season we will be standing on the podium much more regularly; ideally in the middle!'
Nico Rosberg 'It is always a very exciting time of year to drive the new car for the first time and feel how it performs out on track. This year we have the added challenge of not having an immediate reference due to the change in tyre manufacturer to the new Pirelli tyres, which felt good during our first try-out at the Abu Dhabi test last year. I am very much looking forward to having a much stronger season than last year and as always, our targets are aggressive. We want to be competing at the front and challenging for race wins. Everyone at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth has worked extremely hard on the new Silver Arrow and we are all looking forward to seeing how it performs.'
Ross Brawn, Team Principal 'It is always a thrill to see a new car ready to take the track for the first time and this year is no exception. After our first year as the Mercedes-Benz works team, we are now seeing the benefits of our chassis group and our engine group working well together. With a good technical structure and a strengthened race engineering organisation, both at the factory and the race track, I am confident that we have done and will continue to do a better job this year in all key areas.
'The concept development for the MGP W02 started early and we have set challenging targets for the design, combined with a robust plan to ensure that the pace of development can continue throughout the long 2011 season. We have two excellent drivers in Michael and Nico, both of whom capable of winning races in a good car, and we look forward to seeing them push each other and the development of the new Silver Arrow during the season. We want to be setting the standard right from the start but if we are not, we will respond very strongly to get ourselves into the game. Everyone is excitedly waiting to see what the new season will reveal.'
Norbert Haug, Vice-President - Mercedes-Benz Motorsport 'The new Silver Arrow for the 2011 season has little in common with its immediate predecessor. Our chassis engineers have taken a fairly ruthless approach and were determined to shave off every superfluous gram and millimetre. What emerged from this process is a compact and exquisitely shaped vehicle that introduces a host of sophisticated solutions and truly reflects the enormous dedication of its constructors. We have given it a brand new coat of paint, and we aim to see a smile on the faces of our hard-working drivers and team members that is as bright as our new silver livery.
'Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher are top drivers who can win races for us, provided we build them the right car. At the same time, our team, like all the other teams, has to deal with complex new tasks. The new generation of tyres from Pirelli, and the extent to which the cars and drivers adapt to them, will play a vital role in deciding wins and defeats.
'The rear wing flap, which can be adjusted under specified conditions, will boost top speed and facilitate overtaking which should open up a new and interesting chapter for Formula One. And there is the return of KERS following a one-year absence at the end of the 2009 season when our Mercedes system recorded a historic first race win. This will play a massive role amongst all of the performance-related components, both for the additional power and for the strategic options it makes available. As in 2009, it is our ambition that Mercedes-Benz builds and runs the best hybrid system and that all three teams which use it benefit significantly from this.
'After I have spoken at length here on the many new issues, our target can be described in one short sentence: The new Silver Arrow should not only look first class, but should also be developed to be at the top step-by-step.'By Jeremy McMullen
2011 German Grand Prix: Race
MERCEDES GP PETRONAS drivers Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher finished their home race in seventh and eighth positions today as a chilly Nürburgring circuit hosted the German Grand Prix. • Nico completed three stops today, on laps 14, 36, 53, running option/option/option/prime
• Michael completed three stops, on laps 15, 37, 56, running option/option/option/prime
• Michael's spin on lap 23 cost him over 15 seconds before he began his recovery drive to eight place
• MERCEDES GP PETRONAS scored a total of ten points, equally the points haul from the last race at Silverstone
Nico Rosberg 'I had a good start to the race today and made up one position on the first lap to be running in fifth place. However I didn't have a perfect set-up today and the car wasn't working quite as well as in qualifying. I had some good battles wîth Massa but despite pushing hard, it was impossible to keep him behind me. Seventh place is ok but we know that we have some work to do to maximise our latest upgrades in the race. I have a great team behind me, both the engineers and the boys in the garage, so I am confident that we will do this and we will see what happens next week in Hungary.' Michael Schumacher 'It was a pretty exciting race today wîth lots of action for both the spectators and the drivers. Hopefully everyone in the grandstands was entertained and it made up for the cold temperatures a little. My spin caught me by complete surprise, but that spot is known to be tricky in wet conditions, even if the conditions were not so wet today. Anyway, it obviously cost me some positions which was a shame. Towards the end, rain could have helped but the chances were low so I did not count on it. All in all, I am ok wîth the race. With the little improvements we have made, we can look forward to Hungary now.' Ross Brawn 'Things looked pretty good for us in the early stages of the race, wîth Nico running strongly in the top six, and he seemed set for a top six finish. However, the pace was not there in the third stint, which cost him a position. As for Michael, we believe that he braked on a damp patch on the way into turn 10, which caused him to spin. After that, he drove a strong recovery to finish less than ten seconds behind Nico. We saw some good racing all through the field today, wîth our drivers involved in plenty of it, and scored a few more important points for our Championship position.' Norbert Haug 'At least we scored points wîth seventh and eighth positions for Nico and Michael. Our race speed was somewhat compromised as both Nico and Michael needed to save fuel for quite a long period of time. At the beginning of the race, our speed looked better relative to the pace of the top three teams than it did from one-third distance onwards.'Source - Mercedes-Benz
Race Preview Feature Ten: 2011 Mid-Season Review
The 2011 season saw the introduction of a number of major rule changes, most notably the implementation of the Drag Reduction System (DRS) and the introduction of Pirelli tyres. With international TV viewing figures on the rise, the changes appear to be a popular success. But what has been the effect of the new regulations so far? As we approach the halfway point of the season, here are the numbers to make an assessment…
How many overtaking manoeuvres have been made in the first nine races? The raw total of overtaking manoeuvres during the first nine races is 623, including moves between team-mates, and passes by faster cars on the bottom three teams. This doesn't include overtakes on the first lap or passes made because of damage.
What is the breakdown of overtaking manoeuvres? Of the 623 passes, 175 were by faster cars on the bottom three teams and 43 were between team-mates. There have been 180 DRS-assisted passing moves, and 225 ‘normal' (i.e. non-DRS) passes.
Which races have seen the most passing? The top three races, using raw totals, were Montreal (136 passes), Istanbul (123 passes) and Shanghai (97 passes). The fewest were Monaco (22 passes), Silverstone (29 passes) and Melbourne (30 passes). Interestingly, the race in Valencia featured 44 passes – twice as many as in Monaco. Of these, 16 occurred in the first DRS zone and six in the second.
What has been the influence of DRS on overtaking? DRS has accounted for 29% of passing manoeuvres in 2011. DRS passes have outnumbered normal passes at four races: Shanghai (33% of total), Istanbul (41% of total), Barcelona (35%) and Valencia (50%). The highest number of DRS passes was at Istanbul (50), followed by Shanghai (31) and Barcelona (29). The fewest were in Monaco (2), Melbourne (5) and Silverstone (6).
Engine : 2.4 L., 8-cylinder
What has been the balance between DRS passes and normal passes? The race in which DRS passes outweighed normal passes to the greatest extent was Valencia: 50% of passes were DRS-enabled, compared to 11% of normal moves. The race at which normal passes outweighed DRS moves to the greatest extent was Monaco, wîth 64% of normal moves compared to 9% of DRS moves. The next most extreme was Silverstone, wîth 55% of normal moves compared to 21% of DRS-assisted passes.
How much passing has been done on the first lap? Although it could be argued that the new rules have diminished the importance of track position in the early stages of the race, a good first lap remains an important asset. Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher have only lost position on the first lap on three occasions between them this season (excluding the damage Michael sustained on lap one in Australia). Michael has made up three or more places on the first lap on four occasions; the best of these was a gain of five places on lap one in China.
How have the tyres affected the racing? From all of the normal passes, just over 55% occurred when the difference in tyre age between the two cars was less than five laps, and 45% when it was more than five laps. Of the 180 DRS moves, 52% had tyre age difference of less than five laps, and 48% when it was more than five laps. The race where the difference in tyre age had the biggest impact was Barcelona, where ‘old' tyres accounted for 69% of passes. The least influential races were the wet events in Montreal and Silverstone.
How many pit-stops have there been in 2011? In nine races, there have been a total of 560 pit stops (this raw total includes penalties). Of these, 11 have been drive-through penalties and four have been ten-second stop-go penalties. The race wîth the highest number of stops was Istanbul (82 stops), followed by Barcelona (77 stops) and Montreal (76 stops). The fewest number of stops were in Monaco (43), Melbourne (46) and Silverstone (54). Two races have seen no penalties served - Barcelona and Valencia. The highest number of penalties was in Montreal, wîth four drive-through penalties.Source - Mercedes-Benz
Michael Schumacher finished the Italian Grand Prix in fifth place today after an exciting and battling drive saw him make up three places from his grid position. Nico Rosberg's race came to an early conclusion as he was hit by another car on lap one. • Michael ran a two-stop soft/soft/medium strategy, stopping on laps 16 and 37, to finish in fifth place
• Nico's race ended at the first chicane when he was taken out through no fault of his own in an accident caused by Liuzzi
• Michael gained four positions on the first lap, taking his season total of places gained on the first lap to 35
• Michael & Nico will attend the Frankfurt Motor Show on Tuesday to premiere the 2012 DTM AMG Mercedes C-Coupe
'It was an exciting race today, both for me and I think for all of our fans, and that is why I am happy. The fighting against Lewis was big fun, and my mirrors seemed to be very small at times. We are both known for driving on the limit, and that is what we did. I had to make my car as wide as a truck, and had to stretch the possible as much as I could, but in the end, as expected, he was still faster. The start was ideal, I held back on purpose at first in order to use the grip perfectly afterwards, and then the left side was all free. To make the most of your possibilities is the maximum possible at times, and that is why I had fun today, especially knowing that there is more to come in the future, wîth all the support we have from Mercedes.'
'It was a disappointing race for me today in Monza. I had a difficult start on my prime tyres but still managed to gain a place at the first corner, so it was quite good. Then Liuzzi flew like a torpedo over the grass and put me out of the race. It's a pity because I had a strong strategy and, as Michael's good result showed, our car was very strong this afternoon.'
'A fantastic drive from Michael today, and I'm sure he really enjoyed his racing out there. The boys have done a great job wîth our starts this year, and Michael was able to get away well and show his race craft in the first part of the race. Then he settled into a really tough battle wîth the McLarens, particularly Lewis, which was great racing and vintage Michael. We haven't quite got a car that's quick enough yet but we are all pleased wîth Michael's fifth place today. For Nico, it was a short and not at all sweet afternoon. We had an exciting strategy starting him on the prime tyres, and lòòking at how those tyres performed on other cars at the beginning of the race, it would have been very interesting to see how it developed. It's doubly frustrating that he was taken out by a car starting in 24th position. If you get tangled up at the first corner because you are vying for position, that's racing, but to be swiped out by someone that far back is hard to take. However, we have shown as a team that when we do have the right car, we will be able to compete at the front, and that's our inspiration for next year.'
'A thrilling drive from Michael again today - the first half of the race delivered probably one of the best television shows of the year and I am sure lots of people at home were standing rather than sitting in front of their televisions, which was the case for us on several occasions today. Michael repeated his Spa result today and everybody realised during his drive how committed and hard-fighting he is - it was a joy to watch, and certainly not just for us. It was a shame for Nico to be in the middle of a first-lap shunt at Turn One. With two fresh sets of option tyres available - which none of the top drivers had today - I am sure he would have been in a good position to fight for a strong result. We all are now lòòking forward to the Singapore night race where we want to consolidate our recent performances from Spa and Monza.'Source - Mercedes-Benz
Accelerated development with PETRONAS
In the era of the homologated, or so-called ‘frozen' engine, it is easy to forget that there are still fruitful avenues of development and gain open to the manufacturers. Chief among these is the evolution of the fuels and lubricants used within the engine, which remain areas of cutting-edge technical research and development for partners such as PETRONAS.
Furthermore, when the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team was newly formed for the 2010 season, it marked the beginning of a new technical relationship and the start of a race against time to demonstrate the companies' shared technical expertise and cooperation, by developing entirely new fuels and lubricants for the Mercedes-Benz 108FY engine. This is how it was done...
What was the development process for the PETRONAS Formula One lubes and fuel? PETRONAS Formula One fuels and lubricants are developed by an in-house R&D team based both at the company's headquarters in Malaysia and at its lubricants facility in Turin, Italy. The first MERCEDES GP PETRONAS development lubricants were evaluated at Brixworth in January 2010 and introduced at the Spanish GP in May the same year. This was followed by the evaluation of MERCEDES GP PETRONAS' development fuels in August 2010 wîth a race-worthy candidate identified from a series of formulations at the end of September. This fuel was durability-approved on the engine dynos, prior to being track tested for the first time in November at the Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test last year. Development continued in parallel, and the finally the best candidate was selected and introduced at the Malaysian GP last April. Since then, development has continued unabated and a further iteration if planned for the inaugural Indian GP, aimed at optimising performance for the ambient conditions at high-temperature events.
The rules state the fuel should be 'composed of compounds normally found in commercial fuels'. How different are road-going and Formula One fuels?
A road fuel generally contains five or so moderately refined ‘complex' components, to balance performance wîth affordability. A Formula One fuel, on the other hand, is blended from between 20 and 30 ‘pure' (in other words, heavily refined) components. This gives close control of the final product specification and the performance it delivers. In a Formula One engine, the estimated difference in performance between the two would be over two per cent. Current Formula One fuel must also contain a minimum of 5.75% of bio-components, in line wîth existing European road-going fuel specifications. The inclusion of these components offers a power advantage because they are oxygenates, and increasing the oxygen in the air-fuel mixture can improve performance – but at the cost of increased fuel consumption.
What are the areas for further development in terms of fuel?
Both fuel and lubricant specifications can influence car performance according to a number of parameters. Among these are mass fuel consumption (GFC, or Gravimetric Fuel Consumption); volumetric fuel consumption (VFC); engine power and ambient conditions. Reducing GFC can lower the car's race starting weight, or allow the engine to be used more aggressively for longer periods of the race; reducing VFC can improve packaging by permitting a smaller fuel tank; increased engine power reduces lap time; while fuels can also be designed to reduce the engine's sensitivity to changes in ambient conditions.
What is the role of the oils used in the car?
Distinct PETRONAS SYNTIÚM engine oil and PETRONAS TÚTELA transmission and hydraulic oils are used in the car. We have the aim of introducing a new engine oil every race season, a target that has been exceeded since the beginning of 2010 in partnership wîth PETRONAS. The typical lead time for development and approval of engine and transmission oil is around nine months. In the engine, the oil must run as thin as possible to optimise performance; in parts of the camshaft, pressures can exceed 1.8GPa – which is equivalent to stacking more than 3,600 Empire State Buildings one on top of the other! The engine oil also functions as an engine cooling fluid, removing around 40% of the heat produced by the engine. In the gearbox, the oil must withstand shock loading (from gearshifts, of which there were over 4,000 in the race in Singapore) and be able to readily release air formed by the churning of gears.
How is the oil analysed across the race weekend?
Like blood analysis in a human being, oil analysis in a racing engine used to provide valuable information on its health. The oil gathers the wear debris of the various engine components, plus the by-products of combustion. Multiple analyses are conducted on an engine during the approval stage, before it runs on track, to determine its wear characteristics. During the race weekend, analysis is restricted to a technique called Optical Emission Spectroscopy, which details the metal content in the oil. Samples are drawn from the oil system after each practice session, qualifying and the race, then analysed. Comparing the results wîth a baseline sample allows the wear rate of various metals to be tracked wîth respect to engine mileage; the results also indicate the source of the wear, and enable preventative measures to be taken if necessary.
Round 10 of the 2012 Formula One World Championship marks the second home race in succession for the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS team The German Grand Prix takes place on Sunday 22 July at the Hockenheimring...