Schumacher keeps Mercedes’ front wing hidden after spin

2012 Australian Grand Prix

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Michael Schumacher was keen to keep photographers from snapping his car’s front wing after spinning during the Australian Grand Prix weekend.

This video shot by a fan shows Schumacher directing track marshals on the recovery of his Mercedes W03 to keep the underside of the front wing from view.

The video was taken after Schumacher spun at turn nine in the last minutes of final practice on Saturday.

There is much speculation over how Mercedes might be using their car’s DRS to direct airflow in a beneficial way to other parts of the car. This could include lower parts of the rear wing or even the front wing.

2012 Australian Grand Prix

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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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    55 comments on “Schumacher keeps Mercedes’ front wing hidden after spin”

    1. Clever Schumi……never taking his eye off the ball

      1. Yes, very wise for him to keep the concentration even after a spin.

        1. although he didn’t stop the guy making the video haha

    2. I think mateschitz filmed this…..

    3. There was a pic on Twitter that showed the underside of the wing from when the car was lifted off the ground a bit to tow it back to the pits and you could see the slots under the wing. I wish I remembered who had tweeted it but I don’t.

      1. Try here:

        There’s clearly some sort of slot on the bottom of the main plane of the wing.

      2. There was another on twitter which was a lot closer up. I think it was sent to @ScarbsF1 who retweeted

    4. to me it looks more like he’s pushing the front down to rise the back in care of the diffuser not to be damage against the ground. Also he stay’s near the back of the car guarding the back from the photographers on scene. Indeed something is been hidden.

      1. He clearly chases them away every time the nose points upwards :P

    5. Well, he was keen to stop them at first, but then he seemed to lose interest, at which point the photographers had plenty of opportunity! (Although then, toward the end of the video, he chases one of them away from the rear wing.)

    6. That is very smart thinking by Schumacher. Mercedes may be having a lot of hopes on this system. My only question is that the FWFD system activates when DRS is activated. This allows them to use it freely anytime in qualifying. The benefit of he FWFD is to stabilize the front end. However, given that in most race situations the DRS zone is pretty much straight without any need for front end stability, how much of a benefit can they extract from it?

      1. I would assume by instability they refer to the difference in down-force being produced. The rear wing may be “stalled” but the front wing is still producing lots of down-force. So to negate this and make the car more “aerodynamically stable” they have found a way to stall the front wing too. This should also make it faster in a straight line. That is what I understand anyway.

      2. Arijit (@arijitmaniac)
        20th March 2012, 6:12

        More downforce often equates to more drag and consequently lesser speed.
        So to negate this teams (Mclaren) found the f-duct two years back which stalls the rear wing to reduce downforce on straights where its not required to have that much downforce. But consequently it reduces drag which was the most important effect of the system. Lowering the drag increases the top speed the car.
        Now with the DRS the balance of the car goes wrong when DRS is activated as the rear produces less downforce but the front wing is still producing downforce.
        So Mercedes’ FWFD system reduces the downforce from the front wing and thus cancelling out the imbalance in downforce (as its not necessary to have that much downforce on straights. whatever downforce the diffuser generates is more that enough). This provides better balance to the car. But most importantly it reduces the drag from the front wing just how the f-duct used to. So the top speed increases.
        Thus the FWFD system has the double advantage of reducing the downforce thus improving the balance as well as reducing drag and increasing the top speed.
        This is my view of the system.

    7. Smacks of McLarens ‘extra’ brake pedal! Where’s Darren Heath when you need him?

      1. Oh, the extra brake pedal! really? was it Darren Heath that took that relevating pic?

    8. Shumi did this in a US GP awhile back as well after a spin. He made sure that the marshalls kept the car even, so the bottom could not be seen. He is definitely one of the best of doing those little things, regardless of criticisms he faces. To me this really shows how much of a team player his is to his engineers.

    9. Gibo is driving (@)
      19th March 2012, 20:52

      Gotta love Schumi and his dedication, he is the real deal

    10. Oh dear God. Listen to 5:55 – Someone ACTUALLY asks ‘Do you know what his name is?’ and someone replies ‘Michael Schumacher’ – why would she pay that much to watch a grand prix if she’s never heard of schumi?!?!

      1. ShaneB457 (@shaneb12345678910)
        19th March 2012, 21:45

        Yeah its so stupid..

      2. to me it sounded like it was just a little kid that said that (perhaps to their dad) so i thought it was ok. otherwise it would be a pretty ignorant question.

      3. it’s just a kid mate. with her old man by the sounds of it. thats why she didnt know.

        1. Ah fair enough I can hear that now. I was about 12/13 when I first went to Silverstone and I apparently turned to my old man before qualifying to say ‘I’m bored’. Not sure he appreciated that!

          1. In your defense, that was before knockout-round qualifying. However, you still should have been tried as an adult for that offense.

      4. Even if it wasn’t a kid, belittling someone because they don’t know who he is a bit silly in itself. Yes he is very famous, but at the same time, I don’t know half the top people in other sports.

      5. Shumi possibly hasn’t had a podium since she was born!

      6. why would she pay that much to watch a grand prix if she’s never heard of schumi?!?!

        To find out who this ‘Schumi’ is presumably. It’s good that people that don’t know much about the sport make the effort to attend a GP and find out what its all about.

    11. Lol @ 5:54, it sounds like someone is new to F1.

    12. Dedication = Schumacherism

    13. Front wing f duct!!!

      Smart thinking by MS to try to keep it hidden!

      Looking at both the mercedes starts, they were super quick! Is their drs button a two stage button? Can u half depress it for the fwfduct and fully depress it for both? Would charlie W have picked that up!!!

      I first thought of this when MS asked his team during practice if the drs could be brought in more gradually (slower)! Never heard this request before!!!

      Just a theory!!! Thoughts????

    14. As Adrian said once: “It must be something very simple and easy to copy.” I don’t see any other reason for Michael being so prudent in hiding underside of the front wing.
      Assuming that I understand what they are doing, it’s so logical why they underperformed in the race. Heavy fuel load and lower ride height reduce the positive effects of this concept.
      On the other hand, I cannot believe that they channel the air from the rear wing to the front as some assume. There are better and simpler solutions.
      I must add that I cannot hide deep disappointment by Lotus’ team reaction. Lotus’ name in F1 was always a synonym for innovation and breakthrough designs. I’m glad they have competitive package, but I regret they have no Colin’s spirit whatsoever.

      1. But remember the f-duct cannot be driver activated. This way it is a ‘side effect’ of the DRS being activated ;)

        1. If it is stalling the front wing then I’m not even sure it’s a side effect. They stall the front wing to reduce the downforce and drag it produces, which is the whole point of the drag reduction system. The system is doing exactly what the name suggests.

          1. Misunderstood me. They definitely want to stall the front wing but cannot have the driver activating it directly… with a setup like this the action the driver is performing is activating the DRS, so they can say to Charlie Whiting “we are just activating the DRS which is allowed in the rules – that there just happens to be a duct there that feeds air to the front wing when DRS is activated *shrug shoulders* isn’t that lucky for us *wink wink nudge nudge*”

      2. strictly commercial (@)
        19th March 2012, 22:28

        I don’t think you’re being entirely fair to Lotus here. I think they’re being smart here. Why waste resources and money on developing a system that FIA might well decide to ban one day, as they’ve been known to do with some prominent recent innovations? By protesting the Mercedes they get a definitive ruling on the issue, at least that would be more difficult for FIA to back track on.

        1. Just look at the Melbourne circuit layout:
          You’ll see that Mercedes is hiding something else because they were the fastest in the only sector without DRS activation. The second sector. It’s hard to believe that guys from RBR and Lotus don’t know that. In my opinion they are malicious as well…

          1. DRS is available all around the track in the practice sessions…

            1. You’re right mate. Sorry, my fault. Cheers

    15. This is why He’ll win an 8th crown, provided Mercedes gives him a good enough car. That’s the same stuff brought Ferrari from zeroes to heroes, basically.

    16. Those photographers were very annoying to watch..

      1. & Yet if they got a nice photo of that front wing I bet you’d be keen to look at it in detail lol!

        That’s whom they are taking the photos for, US! Lets not forget that…

    17. unbelievably this video has found an angle which makes the Merc look even uglier

    18. Love it. Go Michael! Protect your awesome car :D

    19. is hard be a marshall i think…………..

    20. he would make a pretty handy track marshall. Maybe he’s trying hobbies for 2013? :)

      1. given his physique, he could even be a handsome bouncer in a night club ;)

        atleast he will remember now – never to shunt the car next time or reveal the tricks of the trade.

    21. If theres an entry on the floor of the wing that might mean that the fron wing is feeding the rear wing rather than an super f-duct concept, that would make sense cause rear downforce is lacking in this years specs.

    22. This is as much a display of his passion as much as his driving, great video.

    23. I do hate to be contrary but this appears to be such an obnoxious thing to do.
      The marshals are attempting to do their job properly – which is hard enough without some interfering chap butting in. In my opinion if your car comes off the track you leave it. Otherwise you are just one more person in the firing line of the other cars and getting in the way of the marshals.
      Final moan – I really don’t like the trend of teams using people to block interesting parts of their cars, always comes across as a bit aggressive and poor sportmanship-y. Maybe thats just me…

      1. I understand your point, but im sure you’d have a different view if you’d invested millions in a new concept that gave you an advantage over your rivals in a fiercly competitive sport.

        Redbull is the worst for this, but then, can you blame them? Its a tough ball to juggle.

        There dosnt seem to be an obvious way around letting the public see these intesting developments, and not letting rival teams see them

    24. I’m saying this a bit tongue in cheek, but are the other teams sure they want to copy what Mercedes is doing? Sure they qualified well, and perhaps that is because their system only works well when the DRS can be used at will on Friday and Saturday, but so far they are not looking to be challenging for the WDC. Both drivers started to lose ground not long after the race started, MS by a second a lap in short order, NR keeping pace with MS, and tire wear seems to be an issue. I think if I’m the other teams I would take note of what they are doing but I don’t know if I’m ready to leap to do the same thing. I guess each team will decide for themselves what the best thing is to do for them, but I think the jury is still out as to whether Merc has something or not. Perhaps they do…for qualifying…but it ends there. Just speculating. And we’ll know more with a few more races to see how it all come out in the wash for all the teams. As I think of it, perhaps since some teams may protest the legality of what Merc is doing, there is something to it, but again, I think it would have a different flavour if they were looking to fight for the WDC this year, which I don’t think they will be.

      1. Robbie: “NR keeping pace with MS”. Ummm, riiight… I can just imagine how you would have wrote it up if the positions were reversed. NR drove terribly today, fair enough he was struggling with pace but he engaged in some horrible defensive driving that actually broke the rules clearly on 2 occasions with Webber behind him, once when making 2 moves into the 4th last corner & another when intentionally missing the fast chicane purely to stay in front until peeling off into the pits later that lap.

        That was just Webber, there were some very dodgy defends from him on other drivers too, maybe he was still seething at the move Vettel pulled on him early in the race?

        Either way, not very sportsmanlike.

        Imagine the uproar if Schumacher had driven in this manner, well, we saw it at Monza last year when he was arguably blocking alot less than Rosberg was at Melbourne (& remembering the extra rule about leaving a cars width if moving back onto the racing line after defending that has been introduced this year).

        1. Fact…while MS was still in the race NR was within 4 or 5 seconds of him and the gap was quite stable.

          Fact…there is no mention, no evidence, and only your comments solely about NR ‘actually breaking rules on 2 occasions’. You are inventing this all on your own as there has not even been an in-race investigation, let alone a post-race one…no mention in any articles (at least that I have read unless you can refer me to some quotes)…and one would think that thanks to MS’s behaviour last year, which caused the defending rules to actually be written, there would have even been more motivation than ever by the FIA to take action toward something you are (wrongly) accusing NR of…

          Nice try Aussie Fan but you are blowing more hot air than last year’s EBD.

    25. You should’ve seen Rosberg’s car parked on the main straight at the end of the race. All the fans crowded around it with Rosberg standing at the nose and a security guard at the rear of the car. Then, after about 30 seconds of me being there, the police came along and shoved me and others out of the way!

      I got a few photos of the back of the car but should’ve tried a video as well to get a better view.

    26. I don´t know what the whole fuss is about…. He has a right to protect the millions Merc invested in that car… It´s normal…
      Everybody talking “smack” about it and I don´t see them saying “jack” when RBR mounts a whole show with the curtains and whatnot to protect “wonder boy´s” RB8… Double standards = Hypocrites!

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