Mercedes focus on top speed for Canada

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Mercedes are aiming for a better straight-line performance from their W01 in the Canadian Grand Prix.

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is reputed for being a circuit where straight-line speed is crucial for a quick lap. Michael Schumacher said:

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is all about top speed so we have worked very hard on this, especially as we know that we are not right at the top in that area. However I am convinced that we will be able to get the best out of our package.
Michael Schumacher

However Nico Rosberg admitted the team have the benefit of what is believed to be the most powerful engine in F1:

Our Mercedes-Benz engine will certainly be a big help on the main straight. We will have some further upgrades for the race weekend and the fact that the circuit characteristics are quite different from Istanbul Park makes me go there with high hopes.
Nico Rosberg

Although the team have introduced their version of the F-duct to increase its top speed, because of their unique airbox design and lack of shark fin the duct is routed around the rear wing. It is thought not to be as efficient as the design on the MP4/25.

Ross Brawn said he was looking forward to F1’s return to the circuit for the first time since 2008, a track which is also very demanding for brakes:

We are delighted to be returning to Canada next week and the race is always one of the most popular weekends on the calendar with the city of Montreal putting on a great show. This year will be no exception and we hope that the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve produces its usual standard of exciting racing and the weekend is a success for our sport in the important North American market.

The circuit is an interesting one from an engineering perspective and should be a track where our slow to medium speed performance, good braking stability and strong engine performance will be an asset.
Ross Brawn

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “Mercedes focus on top speed for Canada”

  1. Aside from Turns three, four and five there really aren’t any quick corners, and they’re not exactly going to get overtaken there.

    I remember that on F1 Championship Edition on PS3 I could gain 1.5-2 seconds a lap by knocking my front wing off altogether. Perhaps someone could attempt a similar strategy…

    1. lol i do that aswell but i wasn quicker

    2. The front wings will probably be tuned to get air around the tyres rather than downforce – i.e. reducing drag.

  2. Given that top speed is so important on this track, do you think this could be the first pole for Mclaren?

    1. That is quite clearly their hope anyway, and Red Bull clearly fear it – otherwise it would not be so critical wether they have a working f-duct themselves or not.

      Anyway, it seems likely this is McLarens best shot at it (well, unless they just keep gaining on Red Bull as they have, getting them half a second faster than the field at the end of the season).

      Mercedes will be hoping that the Renault and Ferrari engines are no match for theirs, or they will not be able to get any further up the grid, with all three teams having reasons to feel they will (should really) do well there.

      1. Montreal and Monza are clearly McLaren tracks at the moment. Spa will probably be a lot like Turkey, with a battle between McLaren in Sector 1 and Red Bull in Sector 2.

  3. Mercedes needs the top speed as we saw in Turkey despite the same engine the aero of Mclaren is was ahead of the Mercedes. They are really struggling at the moment with both Top speed & corning speed & I wonder whether they will fight for the championship this season, even they will be very lucky to win a race this season.

  4. An analysis of the speed traps at Turkey shows just how dire the Mercedes top speed situation is.

    During FP3 on Saturday morning there was a headwind through the speed trap section resulting in the following:

    1 1 Jenson Button 11:57:17 314.3
    2 2 Lewis Hamilton 11:26:20 313.1
    3 17 Jaime Alguersuari 11:22:38 311.9
    4 8 Fernando Alonso 11:41:58 311.8
    5 7 Felipe Massa 11:28:18 311.6
    6 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi 11:33:48 310.7
    7 5 Sebastian Vettel 11:43:08 310.3
    8 16 Sebastien Buemi 11:27:12 309.4
    9 23 Kamui Kobayashi 11:24:33 309.1
    10 11 Robert Kubica 11:43:54 308.9
    11 6 Mark Webber 11:42:33 308.0
    12 12 Vitaly Petrov 11:42:02 307.6
    13 10 Nico Hulkenberg 11:42:19 307.6
    14 20 Karun Chandhok 11:40:20 307.4
    15 21 Bruno Senna 11:27:28 307.1
    16 3 Michael Schumacher 11:44:29 306.2
    17 22 Pedro de la Rosa 11:56:34 305.6
    18 4 Nico Rosberg 11:23:55 305.6
    19 9 Rubens Barrichello 11:24:42 304.4
    20 24 Timo Glock 11:39:53 302.4
    21 19 Heikki Kovalainen 11:40:45 301.1
    22 18 Jarno Trulli 11:42:42 301.1
    23 25 Lucas di Grassi 11:58:10 298.9
    24 14 Adrian Sutil 11:03:56 94.8

    The Mercedes were 4 kph slower than Red Bull and 7 kph slower than McLaren. By afternoon qualy the winds had changed to a tailwind through the speed trap which resulted in this:

    1 1 Jenson Button 14:33:17 320.4
    2 2 Lewis Hamilton 14:09:47 320.1
    3 6 Mark Webber 14:42:15 314.0
    4 10 Nico Hulkenberg 14:07:21 313.6
    5 5 Sebastian Vettel 14:42:00 313.6
    6 9 Rubens Barrichello 14:08:21 313.3
    7 17 Jaime Alguersuari 14:08:56 312.7
    8 14 Adrian Sutil 14:08:48 311.9
    9 12 Vitaly Petrov 14:09:18 311.9
    10 8 Fernando Alonso 14:09:54 311.9
    11 23 Kamui Kobayashi 14:10:09 311.6
    12 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi 14:09:31 311.5
    13 11 Robert Kubica 14:42:21 311.5
    14 7 Felipe Massa 14:53:49 311.2
    15 16 Sebastien Buemi 14:10:52 310.0
    16 22 Pedro de la Rosa 14:09:11 309.8
    17 4 Nico Rosberg 14:08:33 307.6
    18 20 Karun Chandhok 14:17:32 307.6
    19 3 Michael Schumacher 14:30:40 307.5
    20 21 Bruno Senna 14:06:43 307.2
    21 24 Timo Glock 14:02:54 304.0
    22 25 Lucas di Grassi 14:20:24 303.7
    23 18 Jarno Trulli 14:07:33 302.2
    24 19 Heikki Kovalainen 14:17:49 301.0

    McLaren gained 6 kph over the morning and Red Bull gained 4 kph. The Mercedes gained only 1 kph and were now 13kph slower than McLaren and 6.5 kph slower than Red Bull.

    1. Interesting that in the afternoon the Williams have gained 6/9 kph over the morning.

      But yes, the Merc. do seem to have a dissapointingly low Downforce/Drag ratio, and their f-duct implementation does not seem to be a big enough effect (so maybe the drag is not from the rear wing but from the rest of the car then?). Maybe they can go lowish downforce and thus reduce drag.

      It could well be that they do better than they did in Spain and in Turkey, with those high speed corners, but it seems unlikely that they will be far in front of Renault and Ferrari, and might have to worry about FI too.

      1. Electrolite
        7th June 2010, 20:54

        Williams were maybe trying a lower drag setting in the afternoon?

        Interesting how Toro Rosso are higher than you’d expect on both lists. Nice info Dr Gonzo!

  5. “The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is all about top speed”

    Not wishing to question Schumacher, but I thought it was a bit of a mixture (running wing at about 50%).

    Clearly McLaren’s front end will be just as important as their top speed.

    1. The Mclaren’ front is much sharper than RBR, but they have a more effective rear than the Mclaren.

    2. Electrolite
      7th June 2010, 20:57

      Yeah, there are some flat out, medium to high speed corners in the first half of the track, where you’d need the car to stick a bit.

  6. “… all about top speed so we have worked very hard on this, especially as we know that we are not right at the top in that area.” He could mean with that: we suck at this, even with our great engine – need to fix that or we will be fighting Lotus.

    “However I am convinced that we will be able to get the best out of our package.” whatever that might mean. Like: If our car can make it to Q3 here at all, we should be glad. Or: if only we get the setup and tires right, we should be able to do 3rd row? Could be either, as far as I can see.

  7. so does anyone know how the Mercedes Fduct works?

    1. Well if anyone can make the Mercedes Fduct work properly,it will be Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn – they will get there eventually.The frustration is obvious by their repeated statements — and there is no shortage of money as with other teams.

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