Mercedes W04 passes crash test

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton’s 2013 car passes its FIA crash test.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Auf der Suche nach 3 Sekunden (Auto Motor und Sport, German)

Auto Motor und Sport reports Mercedes’ W04 has passed its crash test for 2013 – and ‘resembles the Red Bull’.

Paralympic handcyclist champion Alex Zanardi would not change his life for the world (The Telegraph)

“We did have a conversation about taking [the DTM] seriously further on but I decided it would be a little bit too much for me to be involved full-time for the whole season next year.”

Button: McLaren can move on from 2012 (Autosport)

“I liked [Pirelli’s 2013 tyre], actually. It was very hot in Brazil so it’s difficult to be sure, but the idea is that it generates heat a lot quicker and you don’t struggle with warm-up, which a lot of teams did in 2012. That is good.”

Nigel Mansell, F1 champion turned secondhand car dealer (The Telegraph)

“While downstairs you may cast your eye over a second-hand Mini, upstairs you can see the Williams FW14B with which Nigel won the world championship in 1992. There are four race-winning cars from across his career as well as the trophies which, unusually, his contracts stipulated he would keep.”

2012: A truly remarkable sporting year to be relished over and over (The Guardian)

Richard Williams: “Manchester City had produced a shattering denouement to the domestic season, Aguero’s goal dashing the smiles from the faces of Sir Alex Ferguson and his Manchester United players, who believed for a couple of breathless minutes that a win at Sunderland had allowed them to retain their hold on the title. Not since Felipe Massa enjoyed 38 seconds of euphoria in Sao Paulo in 2008 before Lewis Hamilton crossed the line to snatch the Formula One title had ultimate triumph been so brutally ripped away.”


Comment of the day

Disappointingly, Rubens Barrichello will not be racing single-seaters next year. Chris (@Tophercheese21) hopes his vast experience doesn’t go to waste:

I honestly think that Barrichello could do very well as an F1 driver coach/mentor to some of these younger drivers. Like Toto Wolff is at Williams.

Could be a good prospect if he isn’t going to be racing next year.
Chris (@Tophercheese21)

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to JSC and John Graham!

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

December the 29th is the latest data a world championship has ever been decided, and it happened on this day 50 years ago at the East London circuit in South Africa. Eleven weeks and six days had passed since the penultimate round of the championship.

Jim Clark led until his Lotus failed on lap 62. That guaranteed the championship for rival Graham Hill, who took the race victory as well.

Here’s footage from the race:

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...

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46 comments on “Mercedes W04 passes crash test”

  1. Joey Zyla (@)
    29th December 2012, 0:55

    December 29th? Now it’s a date stuck in the middle of the F1 silly season, it’s difficult to imagine a championship being decided then.

    1. Nearly three months after the penultimate race – that’s the thing that struck me. That would have been three nerve-racking months, though I think most people would not have minded whether it would have been Hill or Clark. Wonderful video.

      1. Yes, wonderful video. Damn. I’ll not hide my total loyalty to the one F1 driver I can say this about. Clark was best.

  2. Re: CotD. I think he’d be great as a driver mentor, as well, but I think (correct me if I’m wrong) he’s said he has no interest in being one. Maybe that’s just for now, while he still wants to continue racing, and he might eventually change his mind. I hope he does!

  3. Any idea on when the first car launch will be ?

    1. Mclaren are Jan 31st and Force India are Feb 1st, non of the others have been scheduled yet I believe.

      1. Nick Jarvis (@)
        29th December 2012, 3:03

        Sauber’s on the 5th, i think.

  4. What do I love that 1992 Williams F1 Car.
    Those colors are just epic.
    It might just be the childhood memories together with the McLaren.
    Love those early 90’s cars.

  5. firstLapNutcaseGrosjean (@)
    29th December 2012, 1:18

    Now, Hamilton will safely crash in Massa. I hope Grosjean and Maldondo will have same safe car, too. They need it.

    1. Kobacrashi won’t be on the 2013 grid, so the safety tests can be relaxed a bit.

    2. Wow…
      Except, Massa and Hamilton didn’t crash into each other once this year.
      And Kobayashi was barely in any trouble, either…

  6. I honestly think that Barrichello could do very well as an F1 driver coach/mentor to some of these younger drivers. Like Toto Wolff is at Williams.

    Really? Toto Wolllf is the example you’re going to give as a driver coach given what Maldonado and Senna achieved this year?

    1. Joey Zyla (@)
      29th December 2012, 2:14

      @prisoner-monkeys Considering that those drivers started as two absolute hooligans who improved over the course of the year, AND considering they were in a slower car, I think that Toto is a good example.

    2. Carlito's way
      29th December 2012, 2:20

      I think he meant that barrichello could be a driver mentor in a similar capacity as toto wolf at Williams, not whether toto is actually any good. @prisonermonkeys

      1. I’m not exactly sure what the executive director (which is Toto Wolff’s title) of a team does, but I thought of Alexander Wurz as being more the driver coach/mentor at Williams? (That doesn’t change the fact that I think Rubens Barrichello would make a good mentor, though!)

        1. thatscienceguy
          29th December 2012, 3:46

          Yes Wurz works with the Williams drivers. I’m hoping the COTD has just confused the names.

          1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
            29th December 2012, 4:33

            Yes, apologies, I did mix up the names, I meant Wurz. @prisoner-monkeys I wasn’t talking about how successful or not the Williams coaches have been, I’m just saying that Barrichello could do extremely well at a similar sort of job because of the wealth of experience he has.

  7. “Auto Motor und Sport reports Mercedes’ W04 has passed its crash test for 2013 – and ‘resembles the Red Bull’.”

    Was that before or after it got smashed up?

    1. Drop Valencia!
      29th December 2012, 3:55

      2008 Red Bull?

    2. No doubt it will be unique in that regard.

  8. @Keith – First, thank you for a super great F1 blog, my go-to! Secondly, do you publish team car launch dates, e.g. a sort of single schedule as they are announced? The off season is tough but being plugged into the launch dates would help!!!! Thanks for the superb work!

    1. @kenf

      Secondly, do you publish team car launch dates, e.g. a sort of single schedule as they are announced?

      Launch dates tend to get published as the teams announce them. There might be a summary article once all eleven teams have finalised details of their car launches (I seem to remember something like that this year), and notifications on the round-up when a car release is about to come due.

  9. Mercedes claim they already found 1,5 of the 3 seconds improvement they need – according to the windtunnel…

    1. Was that the Ferrari wind tunnel ?

  10. Some strange reports coming out of Finland at the moment. They don’t translate into English too well, even using Google Translate, but the gist of the article seems to be that one of Kimi Raikkonen’s engineers, Simon Rennie, has quit Lotus F1 (or possibly quit working with Raikkonen and will move to Romain Grosjean’s side of the garage). From the sounds of things, Rennie was upset with Raikkonen over the “Leave me alone, I know whay I’m doing!” radio message in Abu Dhabi, which he thought was rude and undeserved. Mark Slade will now be Raikkonen’s primary engineer.

    If this is true, then it looks like Raikkonen upset the wrong person. I believe Simon Rennie was Fernando Alonso’s engineer when he won back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006. Slade, on the other hand, was Heikki Kovalainen’s engineer at McLaren in 2008 and was let go by the team at the end of the year. When he moved to Lotus (then known as Renault), he was assigned to Vitaly Petrov, who criticised Slade for over-ruling him when working on his set-up without consulting Petrov first. The relationship ended so poorly that Petrov now reportedly refuses to work with engineers for whom English is a first language because he felt Slade treated him like a child because his English wasn’t great.

    1. From that article I get an impression that Rennie has left the whole Lotus team, not moving to Grosjean’s camp.

    2. That sounds incredibly far fetched re: Rennie.

      Lotus already explained the relationship following the race (Slade was already Kimi’s main engineer, whilst Rennie was just his pitfall contact).

      Slade was also Kimi’s engineer at McLaren and left by mutual agreement when the driver went to Ferrari as he didn’t want to go to Italy.

      I can’t take anything to do with Petrov seriously. He’s in the wrong sport if he wants to avoid English speaking engineers!

      1. Actually a lot of the grids engineers just have english as a second language, you can pretty much tell during the race when they show snippets of info from them.

      2. I can’t take anything to do with Petrov seriously. He’s in the wrong sport if he wants to avoid English speaking engineers!

        Petrov doesn’t want to avoid English-speaking engineers. He’s just more comfortable with engineers who have English as a second language like him. And he’s more comfortable with them because he felt Mark Slade treated him like a child because he didn’t speak English that well.

        1. If that is true (and I’m taking it with a grain of salt) it’s still an overreaction by Petrov. I live in France, so I understand the phenomenon of being treated like you’re stupid just because you’re not fluent in a language, but it doesn’t follow that I refuse to work with all French people because some have that attitude.

          1. It’s different for Russians. I’m no expert on the subject, but the few Russians I know don’t take kindly to that sort of thing. It’s a cultural thing; a lot of them feel that Westerners are insincere and untrustworthy because we’re too quick to smile. It doesn’t help that English is actually a very difficult language for Russians to learn (strangely enough, it’s actually easier for Russians to learn Japanese than English, easier for the Japanese to learn English than Russian, and easier for English speakers to learn Russian than Japanese). So I very much imagine that treating a Russian driver like a child because their English isn’t great, and over-ruling them when working on their set-up without consulting them first would be a very bad way of handling the relationship.

            Besides, if Petrov thinks that he can get more out of his car – and therefore perform better – by working with engineers who do not speak English as their native language rather than working with engineers for whom English is their first language, then who are we to fault that? Why sacrifice, say, half a sercond per lap simply to prove a point that you can work with anyone?

          2. Mmmm maybe. I’ve lived in Russia too and never had any particular problems in that area, although I do try not to talk down to people n that way. Incidentally, the French also think you come off a bit stupid or insincere if you’re running around smiling all the time (guess Grosjean’s the exception, although of course he’s Swiss really!) Fair point on the working relationship, but there’s a difference between preferring to work with certain people and “refusing” to work with a signficant group.

    3. Kimi won’t give a ****… Lets hope it does not make his car slower . Keep your ears on the radio :P .

      1. Maybe Kimi won´t care, but it is my understanding that a good engineer is a key to a championshp battle, after all he is the one that gives the other mechanics indications to made the setup at closely as the one the drivers wants…

        Some engineers even have become famous like Giorgio Ascanelli who was Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet and Gerhard Berger engineer, before taking on Toro Rosso Technical director position.

        I also remember that when Nico Rosberg signed for Mercedes one of his conditions was thar his engineer has to be signed as well. I have even heard that when Vettel resigned for RBR back on 2011 one of the condition was that most technical staff even his race engineer Rocky and his performance engineer Tim Malyon will remain with him…

        1. I think a driver’s engineer can be crucial to their overall performance. Look at the great relationship Rob Smedley has with Massa. If he were replaced, or switched to some other position in Ferrari I doubt Massa would have recovered his form as much as he did this season.

    4. That would be a shame if true. The race strategy calls for Kimi didn’t really come together until a couple of races after they’d come to the two-engineer arrangement.

      And for that reason I think they will need to assign a similarly strong second engineer who is not afraid to tell Kimi things even if he thinks he will get abuse for it. Even Mark Slade has admitted in interview that sometimes Kimi complains about being told but still changes something afterward to fix whatever he was being told about.

      On the topic of Petrov, you can say all you want about his choices, but you can’t deny his performance jumped up when they paired him with Ayao Komatsu who also seems to be working very well with Grosjean. In all, having the right engineer who tells you the right amount of information is crucial to extracting everything out of your car and while Slade might work well with Kimi on the technical and setup side, I’m not sure he’s the right guy for during the race.

  11. I can’t wait until Nigel’s museum opens. I live 2 miles down the road :D

    To give you guys an idea of how it looks outside, its located in a great art deco style building

    1. Looks must better than when I last drove past. Is it open yet?

    2. @dougy_d

      A Night with Nigel Mansell – Guided tour of the Mansell Collection by Nigel, 6:30-8:30pm Friday 22nd Feb – £50 to raise funds for Island Games Association. I’ll be there!

      1. @JerseyF1 Yeh I’ve heard about this from a colleague at work and got my tickets on the Friday. Should be a good evening.

  12. Is it possible to find a video of a crashtest? I would really like to see what it looks like :)

    1. Lots on Youtube

  13. Not a great sign for Merc, if I was trying to win races, I wouldn’t copy what other teams… Granted their recent experience in trying their own thing hasn’t worked out for them, I don’t think copying RBR will get them the results they’re after.

    1. what you say sounds pretty accurate to me . But they are trying some salvage operation this year to boost speed by at least a second to match Lotus . Considering lotus used the Coanda effect for better gains , who knows ?

      Actually the DDRS was a theoretically great concept , but they went wrong with the heat in the tyres and the lack of testing didn’t help either . I hope they boost their pace this season to be ” in the mix “

    2. There is two ways of looking at it though, they tried for the past seasons to be unique and bring in new things but it didn’t work. What they do need is consistency and the Red Bull is just that.

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