Schumacher expects closer competition in 2012

F1 Fanatic round-up

Posted on

| Written by

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Barcelona, 2012

In the round-up: Michael Schumacher says “the gap between the several teams will not be as big” in 2012.

F1 Fanatic Live moderators wanted

The first practice session of 2012 is just one week away!

As ever, we’ll be following every F1 session as it happens on F1 Fanatic Live.

We’re looking for new recruits to our teams of moderators who keep an eye on the discussion to guard against spam, prevent trolling and generally make sure a good time is had by all.

We have a simple and straightforward moderating system, and even if you can help in one session during a race weekend that would be appreciated.

If you’d like to help out, please get in touch. Either send a message through the site to Keith Collantine or get in touch via the contact form.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Michael’s preview to the season (Michael Schumacher)

“I do not have a clear picture yet. What we can say though is that the gap between the several teams will not be as big as it has been last year.”

Red Bull: Exhaust set-up not on the edge (Autosport)

Christian Horner: “We are happy that we comply with the regulations. Ultimately it is a matter for the scrutineers and the FIA, as they have more knowledge and sight. Teams only ever get to see photographs; the FIA gets to see the cars close up in reality.”

Webber keen to beat Vettel in qualifying (Canberra Times)

“If Seb’s dominating that pole position, it gives him a very strong position to tee the race up, so he needs to drop the consistency of that. If I can put myself in that front position and get to that first pit stop first, that makes things a lot easier within our own little battle.”

Jaime Alguersuari via Twitter

“Hey guys just to clarify some things. I am here because I still want to compete. I don’t imagine myself without competing. This has been my life since I was eight years old. I am at the BBC Radio 5 [temporarily] because I want to come back racing. BBC was the only one to believe in me. Thank you.”

F1 builder says Austin track will be ready by November (Austin-American Statesman)

Tilke Gmbh managing partner Peter Wahl: “I can already say we will be ready earlier than November. I’m sure it will meet all the requirements of Formula One… It will be one of the best tracks in the world.”

France ready for Grand Prix (Sky)

“France’s Sports Minister David Douillet says the country is ready to stage a Formula One race in 2013 and the only hold-up is from their Belgium counterparts.”

Felipe charges his batteries in Sao Paulo (Ferrari)

“I won’t hide the fact that we are not 100 percent satisfied with what we have done in these three test sessions in Spain and I would have preferred to be a bit quicker. We have a totally new car and we must still learn about it and get all its potential out of it.”

Comment of the day

Andy G on why solving the problem of letting lapped cars past the safety car isn’t as easy as it first seems:

For all those saying that the cars on the lead lap should just overtake those who aren’t behind the safety car, there is a large problem that would make this unfair. Here’s a hypothetical scenario (and it would happen more often than you think):

Perez and Di Resta are in ninth and tenth and are battling it out. Vettel, in the lead, comes round to lap them, gets past Di Resta, and then the safety car comes out.

So the order behind the safety is Vettel, Di Resta, (several cars), and Perez at the back. If you let all the cars on the lead lap overtake all the cars who have been lapped, then Perez will lap Di Resta! Not exactly fair for two cars who were fighting it out moments ago to now have a one-lap gap between them.

In short, this rule would be massively unfair on all the cars that the leader has just lapped before the SC came out. Essentially if you have been lapped by the lead car, you have now also been lapped by every car who also hasn’t been lapped by the lead car. It will ruin the race of many, and in effect create a lap split between the entire field.
Andy G

From the forum

Site updates

The 2012 F1 Fanatic Predictions Championship will be launched today!

We’ve got a great roster of prizes to be won at every race plus big prizes for the top scorers at the end of the season.

It’s free to play but you’ll need an F1 Fanatic account so if you haven’t got one be sure to register here.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Alpinestar, Venturi Effect and CDMRacing!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Happy birthday to Pastor Maldonado who is 27 today!

Image © Mercedes

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

41 comments on “Schumacher expects closer competition in 2012”

  1. Good luck to Webber on that. It will involve a HUGE step up in his game.

    1. You’re right there. Vettel is such an amazing qualifier that almost no-one would be capable of containing him. To be brutally honest, I don’t think Webber is quite good enough to do that.

      1. Not really. It just happened that the massive grip of last year’s blown diffuser favoured his style.

    2. if he gets back to his 2010 level, then it’d be closer, for sure. The difference between them was usually less than 2 tenths, either way. Plus, I remember they said that the blown diffuser, and the engine mappings, tend to favour Vettel in some way (the BBC reported that back in 2010 at least).

      It shows: in Silverstone Mark was faster in qualy. If he’s able to replicate that during this season, then there’s no reason to belive MW cannot challenge SV.

      1. Nick.UK (@)
        9th March 2012, 1:41

        Fingers crossed!

      2. @fer-no65 the blown diffuser in itself didn’t favor anyone. But it was the mapping. The initial mapping had no exhaust gasses when you were off throttle – and that was why until Canada Mark Webber was quicker – he was driving the non-mapped blown diffuser better.

        All engine mapping does is basically make the car handle like it has no blown diffuser – only with a lot of low-speed downforce.

        1. Even if he steps his game up in quali… he still tends to lose about 5 places on the start, so thats what he needs to work on.

          1. I too, hope he does better this season but am afraid of the bad starts like you said which would relegate him to the “maintain the gap” status of the second driver similarly like Massa. Hoping for honest competion.

          2. Not in 2010, tho. He wasn’t the best, but he wasn’t the worst either. And Vettel had troubles too… remember Silverstone and Germany?

          3. I’m just glad to hear a fighting mood from MW which displays actual competition between the two drivers. I hope to not see Red Bull as strictly a SV team.

  2. I don’t really see how @toothpickbandit ‘s theory works. If lapped cars are allowed to overtake, then Di Resta can run back up behind Perez and the battle can resume, except neither car has been lapped. I may have misunderstood him, or missed some technicality in the rule, but that’s how I understand the rule will work.

    Anyway, this season does look properly close with the top 10 separated by less than in the past couple of seasons. Hopefully we’ll see a few surprise results, a la Force India at Spa in 2009, to shake the order up a wee bit.

    1. It was in reply to some who were proposing an alternative to lapped cars being able to overtake the safety car.

    2. The problem is that when Di Resta runs up behind him again he is on the same lap as Vettel (as Di Resta just unlapped himself). Then when the race restarts and Vettel passes Perez then Perez will be a lap down but Di Resta won’t

  3. Andy G (@toothpickbandit)
    9th March 2012, 0:33

    Woot! COTD! :)

    Just to clarify, I was responding to people who were suggesting that, once everyone was bunched up behind the safety car, everyone should rearrange into the correct order while behind the SC (all those on the lead lap should shift to the front of the chain, while those not should shift to the back). While this suggestion would be quicker than the new rule in place for this year, it would also be very unfair, as explained in my comment.

    1. Andy, excellent explanation, do you see any problems (selective hearing aside) with the cars being instructed by radio to form up into actual track position eg. pit to Perez ” allow leaders past and fall back to your track position of 9th. behind Massa in front of DeResta” and all other drivers getting their appropriate instruction and a protocol in place about which side to pass on ?

    2. congratulations on the COTD.

      While I would like them to just sort themselves out behind the SC, it would require ignoring all passing and lapping etc. during that event.
      Which in reality is not possible without being unfair to some.

    3. Nice one Andy. Yes, an excellent explanation of my idea turned out to be rubbish! Thanks.

  4. Interesting… Webber wants to beat Vettel in qualifying? If he’s only realising that pole position offers an advantage now, then I can see why he fared so poorly last season! :P Unfortunately for Mark, Seb is one of the best qualifiers out there and he’s not about to get any worse at it…

    Great COTD. A much more eloquent way of describing what I was saying, basically, and a much more relevant example! (@Enigma)

    As for moderating, I’ll be available for all sessions once more this year, but as I’ll be at the Australian Grand Prix, I won’t be moderating for the first race!

    1. Webber wants to beat Vettel in qualifying? If he’s only realising that pole position offers an advantage now, then I can see why he fared so poorly last season!

      Next he’ll be telling us that he’s just worked out that dropping 3-6 places at the start of a race makes it harder to reach the podium :D

      1. lol ! Poor Webber, he always gets so much crap from everyone, i’m just waiting to hear his excuses when he fails this season.

        1. I’m a massive Webber fan… I shouldn’t be so harsh! But I should point out that I was being sarcastic! He had a rubbish season, yes, but I think he can have another strong year.

          1. Here’s an excuse already, Mark has to actually be faster than Seb to even match his times, he is taller & carries an additional 10-12kg of ballast (i.e his body) higher up (bad Centre of Gravity due to height) in the SAME car as Sebastian.

            If he’s as close as he was alot of the time in 2010 for pole position, then there’s not much more you can ask of him if Seb is still nailing his qualifying laps every weekend.

            Its simple physics really, & if Lotus was worried about adding as little as an extra 1 kg weight higher over the front suspension, you cvan bet what 10 kg higher up right near the centre of the car itself would do for laptime…

            Also I find it funny not one person has commented on Schumacher’s comments seeing as though tye were the story intro, anyone else think he’s sounding genuinely positive (whilst being realistic) & is actually in for a pretty good year this year?

    2. @damonsmedley, in my mind Webber was a bit of a qualifier as well, until he was paired with Vettel.

      What Webber says is nothing new, but its him restating again how imporant it is to qualify first, as this also determines first pick or the pitstops etc. in the race.
      Sure enough if he would manage it, and then fail to lose out in the start, he might actually having a chance of beating Vettel. I would love to see it tight between them, although I have no big hopes of that really happening.

      1. Yeah it comes down to this for MW…he didn’t do enough in 2010…he really didn’t do enough in 2011…but at least he is talking like he has an equal chance vs. SV in 2012, so it’s up to him then to prove it on the track. He really has everything to prove at this point. Talk is one thing. He’ll either compete, or he won’t, and then we’ll all be discussing whether it is because SV is the favoured driver on the team, or if MW had an equal opportunity and is simply no match for SV, or is a match because he is competing (as my best-case scenario at Red Bull).

        As to the headline which as Aussie Fan has pointed out, nobody has remarked on…my remark is simply something I have said several times in recent weeks. If the field is closer, like MS et al is projecting, and everyone is hoping for, then he will not be able to get away with poor qualifying performances any more. If, wherever the Mercs end up on the grid there are two or three teams close behind them, then his poor grid spots will be much harder to gain back on Sunday than they were last year when everyone else was a distance back from them in the WCC, and they a distance back from third such that NR couldn’t do much to improve on his much better grid spots.

        ie. if NR continues to blow MS out of the water on Saturdays in a much tighter field, we will see NR fighting for podiums and MS fighting for minimal points and probably losing more wings in the process. So to me, MS’s focus in the off-season for this year should have been massively concentrated on better Saturday performances.

        Some suggested that last year he sacrificed Saturday speed for better Sunday speed. If that is the case, which I doubt, although at least last year he could get away with that theory due to the WCC placings, then I think this year he will not be able to do the same…so he will have to do the same as NR this year and not sacrifice anything on Saturday (if that was their theory) and therefore have similar race pace if he is going to make the same effort as NR on Saturday to put himself as high up on the grid as possible which, again, he will need to do in a much closer field, imho.

  5. well, you could hardly ask for better news from austin

    1. The bad news being that their situation with the MotoGP contract seems to be much the same as it was with the F1 contract in October last year. In trouble for not sorting it with Tavo.

  6. Mark used to be as good as anyone in Quali… in 2003 he put that Jag higher than it should have been in many races.

    I’m sure we’ll see some great laps from him this year!

    1. @Scottie I don’t remember that much of good quali from Mark in 2003. But 2004 had some good quali performances

      1. @raymondu999 Just to refresh your memory I found this: took 5 seconds to find :)

        Also from the top of my head I remember another 3rd place in Hungary, 5 at Imola and 6 at Canada and the Nurburgring

  7. Not sure why but I would have expected Alguersuari to have a proper race seat for 2012 which may have help him to come back in F1 in the future

  8. So the order behind the safety is Vettel, Di Resta, (several cars), and Perez at the back. If you let all the cars on the lead lap overtake all the cars who have been lapped, then Perez will lap Di Resta! Not exactly fair for two cars who were fighting it out moments ago to now have a one-lap gap between them.

    It’s the lapped cars who will be released, not the leaders. The lapped cars will be allowed to overtake the safety car, complete a lap and rejoin the queue at the back. In the scenario you outlined, I believe that both di Resta and Perez would be allowed out, and would rejoin the queue in position.

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      9th March 2012, 5:09

      Both @prisoner-monkeys and @toothpickbandit look to be right… that’s what makes that new rule so complicated

      1. @toothpickbandit seems to have misinterpreted the rule – it is the lapped cars that get released from behind the safety car, rather than have the leaders sort themselves out behind it. It’s not actually that complicated. The lap before the safety car is due to pit, all of the lapped cars are allowed to pass the safety car, do a lap of the circuit at moderate pace (the danger having since been removed) and rejoin the queue of cars in their running order. When the safety car does return to the pits, the race will resume with all twenty-four cars in their running order. If Vettel is leading the leading the race, the safety car will pick him up when it is first deployed, so in Andy G’s scenario, Perez would continue around to the back of the queue at the start, and then the lapped traffic would be released one by one, so di Resta will then do a lap and come back behind Perez.

        1. The solution is easy @prisoner-monkeys, Andy G was showing that a scenario where the leaders (those on the lead lap) would be allowed to pass the lapped cars to sort them out on track would not be right. See his comment above –

    2. Read comments above PM

  9. @toothpickbandit Good COTD. It does seem like it could happen quite easily!

    It would be great to see Webber on pole. I believe he’s fast enough but last year he couldn’t turn it on when he needed to. Hopefully he will get his head around the tyres much sooner this year.

  10. we are discussing a hypothetical scenario given a hypothetical rule which would cause a hypothetical problem.

    wow. the comments section is getting more and more sophisticated by the day.

    1. It’s not a hypothetical rule.

      1. Stop you just don’t get it and you are embarrassing yourself.

  11. interestingly i tried to watch an f1 programme on sky go player. i have the HD package therefore can watch F1…but it would not allow me to watch F1 on sky go it says you need sky sports package.

    something they need to address or make aware to the public.

  12. Don’t care who but just some one else take pole and win except vettel.

Comments are closed.