Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013

Rosberg: Rivals yet to show their real pace

2013 F1 season

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Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Nico Rosberg played down the significance of his fast time during testing at the Circuit de Catalunya today, saying rival reams were yet to show their hand.

“Of course you need to be really, really careful with the pace. As we’ve always seen in past years I know for a fact, for example, that other competitors haven’t shown anything near what they’re able to do.

“So just wait and see. [At] Melbourne we’ll learn more,” he told media during the lunch break in Barcelona.

Red Bull are one of the teams yet to give a clue about their potential – but they aren’t the only team Rosberg has his eye on. “Amongst other things, for sure, Red Bull is a big uncertainty,” he said.

However he does sense an improvement at the team: “What I’m sure is definitely, as a team, we’ve progressed from last year.”

“We had a very difficult year last year, especially a lot of drop-off towards the end of the season. And I think we’re in a much better position now as a team definitely communication, structure, everything is working better.

“So I’m pleased at the moment how it’s gone in the winter. We have a decent base as a car. Reliability has been sorted, everything.”

“We had a decent winter last year also,” he added. “I think we even finished top of the times sheets last year, I’m not sure, but anyway very close.”

“So that’s another reason that we just have to be really careful. The conditions are going to be really different again in Melbourne. We know for a fact last year one of our big weaknesses was tyre degradation.

“For sure we’ve learned a lot also about that but how far are we? We’ll wait and see.”

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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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53 comments on “Rosberg: Rivals yet to show their real pace”

  1. Maybe the rivals simply don’t have anything to show, has anybody thought of that? Certainly Massa yesterday and Alonso today were chasing Mercedes’ time but just couldn’t do it!

    1. very true.
      Massa and Alonso were chasing Mercedes time, but they didn’t catch them in testing…
      Now lets see if Hamilton and Rosber can catch Alonso and Massa in race…

      1. Actually the pressure is on Alonso to deliver a championship for Ferrarri, Merc on the other hand don’t expect much from the season so don’t have to prove anything. As the pundits have been saying, and not being shy about it, the title race is btwn Alonso, Vettel, Webber, Button and Raikkonen. All I’m saying is with no pressure on the Merc team could throw in a few surprises over the season!

        1. Actually the pressure is on Alonso to deliver a championship for Ferrarri

          Surely you must mean that the pressure is on Ferrari to deliver a championship-winning car for Alonso.

        2. In your first message you said that Ferrari was not able to catch Mercedes’ time.

          In your second message you said that Alonso (who drive a Ferrari) has more possibility then Hamilton and Rosberg (who both drive a car that Ferrari is not able to catch) to win the World Driver Championship.

          I see that this two assumption are contradictory.

          We have to decide, if Ferrari can’t catch Mercedes’ time then Alonso has no chance to win WDC…he is a human and can’t beat superior machinery. If we decide this, then Alonso has 0 pressure and is not favourite… so your second message is invalid .
          If we decide that Alonso has pressure to win WDC, then this means that he had a car that at least is as fast as everyone else…so Ferrari can catch Mercedes times. If we decide this then Ferrari can catch mercedes times.. so your first message is invalid.

          Which one we accept your 1st or 2nd…:)

          P.s i’m a programmer and i’ll like to comment as i use when i program…:)…by using threads…but i really like Hamilton and if no Ferrari driver can win the WDC i will be happy if he can win it…

          1. I’m a programmer too and I think your logic is broken. Alonso has pressure because he drives a Ferrari, it’s as simple as that. He didn’t when he was driving a Renault.

          2. “Alonso has pressure because he drives a Ferrari”
            right, but you mix to different things.

            The pressure to drive a Ferrari is one thing, the pressure to win the world championship is another thing. The guy in the second message is speaking for pressure to win WDC, so my logic is still valid till an valid argument can break it.
            I don’t know if you are a Ferrari fan, but let me explain my point.

            The pressure to drive a Ferrari: Is the pressure to beat constantly your team mate, to become a reference for the team, to drive the legendary team with having the respect of all the employers in Ferrari, to become an image for the team, to prove them with legendary races and impressive results compared to your team mate, to win when you have a WCC car.

            The pressure to win the world championship: is to win when u have a World championship winning car (and is valid for every team). You absolutely should not fail in that moment like both Ferrari drivers did in 2008. That’s why ferrari make the decision to fire up the less performant(even in my personal opinion both should have been fired up).

            For me as a Ferrari fan from 1996 Schumacher gain my respect and the respect from all the “tifosi” and Ferrari staff in the 96-99 period. In this period he proved and handle the pressure to deliver incredible results with a inferior car and beat always his teammate. Then the pressure was too Ferrari to deliver to Michael a Winning car, and they did it for 7 years in a row(except 2005).
            The same now with Alonso he has proved to all us in same way as Schumacher did. This year and in the coming years we should give him a winning championship car like we did with Michaell. And im 100% convinced that that Ferrari will do it.
            If Alonso win 4 wdc in a row(with a WCC car) this doesn’t mean that Alonso 2013-2016 is better then Alonso 2010-2012…it means that the material that Alonso worked in that period was just better.

            The only two drivers that have handle the pressure at Ferrari in the last 15 years are Schumacher and Alonso. The others were good and respectable but this two are different.
            I hope i have explain my opinion

          3. The pressure to win the world championship: is to win when u have a World championship winning car

            You’re stuck in a recursive loop. A “World championship winning car” is any car which wins the wold championship. You don’t now now – and won’t know until the end of the season – whether the F138 is a “world championship winning car”, and Alonso won’t know either. Which is why he, like every other driver, has to behave as if his car is “world championship winning”.

          4. I think Alonso will be more likely to be in title contention purely because Ferrari have been better able to sustain development (despite the wind tunnel problems they suffered last year) than Mercedes. Mercedes may be very fast at the start of this year, but I think the more established teams (Ferrari, Red Bull & McLaren) will come on strong in the end. However, Mercedes then might steal a march in 2014…

        3. I have a feeling that in some way or another, the Mercedes, or rather, Hamilton, will be a big influence as to how the championship pans out.

          1. I hope that then he can help his best mate Alonso…and Alonso is a serious guy, he knows how to payback one way or another..:)

        4. Merc is aiming for the title. They didn’t pay that money to have Lewis to waste a year in testing around the world. Their car was already in the drawing process before signing Lewis. Same story when Ferrari brought in Schumacher in 1996, they were aiming as high as possible already in that year.

          What proof is there that the Ferraris were chasing the Merc’s times? Cause then the same arguement can be said about every other car that came second in all other tests.

          Were the intersection times of every lap given to the public?

          Regardless, the cars’ true potential will only shine halfway towards the championship.

          1. @Ivano
            The proof is in that both Ferrari drivers bolted on brand spanking new tyres (the fastest compounds available) and emptied the tanks for a series of short runs, and the only reason you do that is to see how fast you can go, otherwise you are just wasting a set of new tyres and we all know what a precious commodity that is in F1.
            And no one from Mercedes have said anything about a title this year but 2014, you are making assumptions.
            Like I said the Pressure is on Ferrari and Alonso to win simply because it’s been too long and they expect to be winning regularly, and the same pressure also applies to MacLarensimply because of their stature. Mercedes on the other hand have no pressure because everybody has written them off this year, including themselves!

      2. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
        4th March 2013, 7:06

        @blackmamba Or maybe Massa and Alonso were not chasing Merc’s time at all ? This is testing, not qualifying. Nobody cares about other’s times

        1. Nobody cares about each other’s times

          I think they do. Don’t believe what they tell you. Do you think anyone cared when Brawn were 1 second faster in 2009 testing? Of course they did.

        2. Agree. pat fry has said they were aero testing and tyre evaluation and runs were part of the programme. these are proffessional outfits with specific programmes not boy races seeing red and having an impromptu race. merc maybe faster maybe not only facts can be confirmed at race weekends. previous posts seem to indicate the anger towards the greatest single element of f1, worlds most powerful brand and most succesfull f1 team. all of those are facts confirmed by results, professional bodies and the main person behind f1.

          1. Maybe ferrari was simply testing tye degradation when following another car. As Tyre degradation seems to be the biggest topic of the tests again.

    2. It is certainly a possibility, but I just don’t buy that Red Bull are two seconds slower than Mercedes; that is just compete illogical based on the base they have and what they achieved last year. Ferrari and Mercedes could certainly have showed us where they are relative to each other, as it did appear they were just copying what Mercedes were doing. McLaren are a bit of an unknown currently though, although I doubt they’ve “done an F2012”.

      1. No one is saying Red-Bull are 2 seconds slower than Merc, but rather that Merc have made a huge step forward and are at least going to be able to contest the podium in Australia, certainly something that was unthinkable torwards the end of last season where they struggled even to score points.
        Red-Bull have no pressure because they have won the last 3 championships, but Ferrari and Alonso on the other hand are simply gagging for it. Of all the teams on the grid they have the most pressure because MacLaren even if they have the right machinery they might not have the right pilot with that extra bit of pizzazz.
        Merc on the other hand will simply go for whatever they can get and with that kind of freedom with a half decent car (if indeed it is) they are liable to surprise in a few races like Williams last year without the fear of making catastrophic mistakes which cost championships, like Maclaren last year!

        1. @blackmamba Your comments are interesting. My take here….

          1) Redbull – Medium Pressure – Have 3 WDCs in bag – relaxing a little bit, Preparing for next year’s car.

          2) Ferrari – Extremely High pressure – Alonso the samurai – 3 years No results yet. Both Ferrari and Alonso are dying for this WDC.

          3) McLaren – No Pressure – Because fans know Good Car or Bad Car, Best Driver or Average Driver , Best Designer or Average Designer, Good Engine or Average Engine, Good Pit Crew or Average Pit Crew Mclaren has this great ability to screw up the championship. They really work hard to make the championship go away.

          4) Mercedes – Nothing to lose except money & Image. :)

    3. I don’t understand why everyone believes that Ferrari belted the times on the softs.
      Isn’t just very possible, that they went in with low fuel and softs, and yet didn’t push it to the full?
      There’s no evidence to suggest yes or no.

      And with all due respect, that is the logical thing that’s been happening with testing, sand bagging.

  2. Redbull is making it like a thriller movie. While we know others are fast. Redbull is either slow or in same time as the top teams or they are really faster than them all.

    i bet it is the second scenario

    1. @tmax Halo Effect.

  3. Based on complaints about the tyres I’ve seen from several drivers, the start of this season will probably look like the start of last season – lots of variability in the results from one week to the next as teams/drivers struggle to to understand the new rubber. In which case it will be a mistake to make conclusions from the results from Melbourne.

  4. Will Schumi be involved in any way with the Mercedes F1 team this year?

    1. No, Ross Brawn said recently his only role with the company will be as an ambassador for their road vehicles.

      1. I bet he has had to go on the drink, cursing Ross thinking ***????

      2. Ah, shame. Thanks.

  5. The problem is that the first race isms on a real track. By that I mean not a purpose made track wwhich is used most in f1. I love Australia and the race is always a fantastic opener, but it’s not the best track to gauge the full 2013 order.

    I think rosbergs is right to play down the car, I think the Redbull will be the car to beat for sure. I also doubt that McLaren won’t be there with Ferrari. This leaves Mercedes 4th at best. No ones really mentioned Williams, but they were quick last year so them along with sauber could well disrupt the podium.

    Overall I think it looks like quite a close grid, the lossbof HRT should make qualifying more interesting!

    1. And Lotus???

      I have learnt over the years the ONLY thing you can learn from winter testing is by listening to what teams and drivers say, Mclaren ALWAYS sandbag, so do Redbull and quite frankly so do all the rest but probably to a lesser extent.

      I’m surprised we haven’t herd from Jenson today but Sam Michael seems pretty confident… however I doubt the Mclaren will be the pace setter in Melbourne as its going to take Mclaren a few races to dial the car in properly but I see know evidence of it being another Dog and will get up-to-speed soon

      I see no reason why Redbull would be to off the pace but whether they have kept their advantage over the the rest of the field we will have to wait and see.

      I cant but help think about all the hype surrounding lotus last year and although the car was good it certainly never quite lived up to expectation but with Kimi at the wheel…who knows what could happen this year

      And obviously the same goes for Lewis’ Mclaren, just having him drive the car has already added 0.75 seconds of performance

      Ferrari have already admitted they don’t quite think their on the pace

      so my best guess…

      sharing 1st/2nd – Redbull/Merc (in no particular order)
      sharing 3rd/4th/5th – Ferrari/Mclaren/Lotus (again in no particular order)

      1. Link please when Ferrari admitted that they are not in the pace?

    2. Winner of Australian GP often goes to win Championship or at lease have a very capable car during the season.

      As much as we hear complaints about track and conditions from the commentators, there is no get away from the fact that some cars were faster than others and no reason why they shouldn’t be faster again on other tracks.

  6. “saying rival REAMS were yet to show their hand.”
    This dosent sound right.

    1. It’s not good if it implies that they’ve already shown theirs.

  7. What many people seem to be overlooking is the fact that this years cars are going to be a lot faster than last years. Last years cars were very unstable especially in the beginning because they were suddenly missing a big chunk of downforce on the rear. No one seemed to understand the tyres very well either so no doubt they were so much slower.

    That said, I don’t think anyone can say that the times set by Mercedes these past few days haven’t been impressive. However, if the Pirelli ’13 tyres are as fast as they’ve claimed then seeing a mid or even low 1:19 pole in Spain shouldn’t really come as a shock to anyone.

    What worries me the most is Red Bulls confidence. Yes, it’s no news that their car is aerodynamically superior to the others but their quietness suggests that they’re very comfortable with what they have right now. I just hope they don’t show up in Australia being 5 tenths faster than anyone. I don’t think they will but it would definitely be a mood killer.

    McLaren seem to have tyre issues. On some occasions they’ve set some impressive times but on others not so much. Their drivers seem to be complaining and asking for more mileage as well. But keeping in mind what a difference a 20kg fuel load and different engine modes can have I still think they’re somewhere in between Red Bull and Ferrari. However, if they really are having tyre issues on some tracks they might struggle.

    Given the nature of the Pirelli tyres I think it shouldn’t be a surprise if we see the Williams and Sauber cars being very competetive on some tracks.

    The same goes for Lotus taking one of the spots of the front row during the season, after all Grosjean seems mighty in qualifying. I still don’t believe he has more raw pace than Kimi so I’m definitely excited about seeing these two compete.

    That pretty much sums up what I think about everyones real pace right now. However, I do predict a Sutil podium and one of the Marussias snatching a point in Spa after some heavy rain and quite a few cars going off. You heard it here first!

    1. Regarding Red Bull, just remember that they were exactly the same last year, with everyone saying they looked better than everyone else throughout testing, and everyone was just waiting for Q3 for them to reveal their true pace. Trouble was, we were still waiting in China!

      1. Beside their underlying solid aerodynamic qualities, last year’s Red Bull had to rely on their dodgy gear in order to get those final few tenths they needed for pole positions, while McLaren had the real pace.

        For example, Red Bull first had to wait until they got their holes in the floor in order to get pole in Bahrain, then, after those were removed post-Monaco, they developed that dodgy engine maps that saw them take the pole in Valencia, with 2 more 2nd places at Silverstone and Hockenheim. Then, after those were banned, they were nowhere until they perfected their double DRS, and still they were eventually overtaken by McLaren in terms of pure pace.

        Red Bull’s design concept is nearing the end of its evolutionary potential and they are desperately trying to find the solutions that are playing to the strengths of the chassis that was designed with EBD in mind.

        2014 regulations change couldn’t have came at the better time for Red Bull, because it’s a clean sheet for everyone. If the regulations were staying the same, Red Bull would likely have to develop a radically new concept and that would certainly put them on a back foot initially.

        It was similar with McLaren’s 1998 concept that ran its course by 2003. They had to come up with something new and, while Mp4/18 was stillborn, Mp4/19 was plagued with engine failures. 2005 was a bit of an anomaly because of tires, but aerodynamically, the concept was there. In 2006 they had one of the best cars but one of the worst engines. In 2007 and 2008, that same concept they started back in 2003 was finally matched with a similarly good engine and we had probably the best McLarens since 98-99.

        Similarly, Ferrari started new concept in 2001 and even though they had a luxury to proof new concept more then enough by unlimited testing and their private testing track, it was in 2002 that it really hit the stride. Something like Red Bull’s 2011 car.

        By 2004, it wasn’t Ferrari that really made gains, except for curing problems with their 2003 car, but it was McLaren and Williams who dropped the ball big time. And they dropped it because both teams introduced extremely revolutionary aerodynamic concepts. You can say Mercedes was extremely unreliable, but McLaren was genuinely slow in the first half of the season. With development through the year, both McLaren and Williams closed the gap significantly.

        Long story short, Red Bull is more and more forced to find gains in gray areas, rather in the car’s fundamental aerodynamic or mechanical grip generating areas.

        As a graphic designer I completely understand the process of developing new concept and then developing it until you simply can’t stretch it any more and have to start a new one from scratch.
        Often, you will find yourself learning about your very concept as you are designing around it. And most of the time, you will only truly understand it (what works and what not and how the design elements really interact with each other,) only once you have finished it. Then you’ll return to the start and rebuild it, hacking off all the unnecessary stuff and giving strength to the things that are making it work, this time having complete understand what you need to do to end up with what you had in mind in the first place.

        But as the time goes by and you learn new things and are seeing new ideas from the peers (rival teams) you will try to evolve your concept, but at some point, you will have to make a clean break and make the completely new concept with newly learned ideas being incorporated into the very foundations of the new concept.

        And there the cycle begins again.

        1. Well if your assumptions are correct Red Bull should struggle next year then seeing as the FIA have cancelled the changes to the aerodynamic regulations for fear of the cars being unimpressively slow. The Aero Regs will remain as per the 2012 amendments with exception of a mandatory lower nose and slightly narrower rear wing. Everything else is still the same. They even changed the rule on having a single exhaust outlet to read there can be no more than 2 exhaust outlets. So Red Bulls diminishing returns should continue? I don’t buy it somehow!

          1. New engine itself will demand completely new thinking of the whole rear end, and since front end needs to work with a rear, I’m expecting teams to make revolutionary, rather then evolutionary cars anyway.

        2. still they were eventually overtaken by McLaren in terms of pure pace.

          McLaren were faster over the full course of the season, not just at the end of it. I think your historical details are a bit shaky, but I agree with the larger point. Some people attribute almost supernatural qualities to the Red Bull cars and the truth is that they are not that good.

      2. Correct! there is so much expectation on Redbulls qualifying times, mostly due to the one season they had the EBD. Before that and after that they have not been anywhere near as dominating.
        You can’t base one year of having a clever engineering solution as they bases of having a clever engineering solution every year.
        They are making out that they have something to hide some clever trick, but really i think they are out of ideas.
        The limited testing they teams have now days pretty much makes sandbagging a pointless excessive as you don’t have enough time to muck around.

        I hear people make claims that such and such a team never test with less that 20 laps of fuel, what a crock. No one knows what fuel levels teams use in testing except the teams. Not the reporters, not the fans, no one but the teams.

        1. nice comment, agree

        2. I agree, its possible red bull may be out of options after the first few races, but I’ve been in Barcelona the last two days, and rbr looks better trough high speeds then anyone out there. I expect a very tight front running group , with sauber and Williams behind for the occasional podiums. It’d be interesting how it pans out after the first few races.

          Though I expect lotus to be right on the pace/or just behind the red bull .

          They looked very strong on mechanical grip sections, like corner nr 4 , they really are on it, and I very much would give credit to them for being there.

          Bahrain would be rbr territory, watch and learn

        3. It is quite possible to estimate fairly accurately the fuel levels actually. (wow that was a yoda sentence)

          Recordings are made of engines on low fuel and high fuel and measurements are made between gear changes. As the gear changes get longer and shorter on varying fuel loads this then provides the necessary information to calculate fuel levels..

          1. there is so much expectation on Redbulls qualifying times, mostly due to the one season they had the EBD. Before that and after that they have not been anywhere near as dominating.

            That’s true, as are some of the other comments here criticizing the RB design. But it seems that the majority of people commenting on this site are very invested in the notion that “The RB’s are in a league of their own and are massively superior to the other cars”. Because the alternative – and what it says about the drivers – is just too unpalatable for them.

  8. I think Rosberg gives a very balanced view of the year ahead. Yes, they are better prepared than same time last year, but its likely alsmost everyone will be
    Red Bull will surely have been able to avoid their trouble from last year, and Ferrari are certainly in a better place than they were a year ago, Lotus have build on what they had last year and have more confidence from their drivers too. In that sense maybe McLaren offers the most uncertainty, because the team have had Hamilton there to be the fastest and Button to be right behind. Now we don’t know what to expect of Perez and doubt Button can be a regular pole sitter

    1. @bascb I think your’s is one of the more balanced comments regarding a summation of testing. I agree that it is likely most teams have improved over last year since the cars are largely an extension of last year’s, ahead of big changes to come for 2014. And I think all the teams themselves still have a lot of unknowns as they haven’t raced in anger, and conditions will be different weather-wise, and grip-wise, from the first race, and then moving on to the subsequent ones. I think it is safe to say that the order of things shouldn’t change too much, but we can all hope that the top 6 are closer to each other than ever and therefore there are some podium opportunities for those who can race for them. I think much will depend on how they adapt to the tires. Some are going to be caught out by them at least at some point in the races, so it will be a bit of a crap shoot and too hard to predict right now. But that’s why they run the races, no? In general, pace should be up, but pace might kill tires too quickly, and we might well once again hear of drivers frustrated that they can’t push to the limit without killing the tires and their chances. Be it testing or racing, a fast lap only means so much if it has a cost of killing the tires prematurely.

  9. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    4th March 2013, 10:20

    Let’s ignore the fact that that the 20.1 was set on low fuel, because that’s a time 2.1 seconds faster than Maldonado’s pole last year. So, yes, the Red Bulls, Ferraris and Lotuses may be able to do better, but if qualifying was tomorrow and if Rosberg set that time, I’d easily be good enough for the top ten. I know the tyres are bringing an extra 5/6 /10ths, but saying, as Johnny Herbert did, that Red Bull are capable of a 19.3, is suggesting that sheer development will improve their laptimes from Red Bull’s 2012 best of a 22.8 by a HUGE 3 seconds once the tyre effect is removed. 3 seconds in under a year seems a bit unrealistic. OK, my point may seem a bit vague but essentially, I’m saying that if the Spanish GP was next weekend, Mercedes would be challenging for pole.

    1. @william-brierty – the cold temperatures help the engines a lot though, and the aerodynamics since essentially the air is more dense. So the engines could be developing an extra 30hp or so, which would make a difference. I do think the development since last year, where the teams were essentially re-learning aerodynamic exhaust solutions after having lost the EBD, to now where they have almost mastered it though will be quite significant, easily in the region of two seconds.

      1. Absolutely though Mercedes would be up there: the car is very quick over one lap, just how quick we don’t know though with the other teams not showing their real pace.

      2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        5th March 2013, 7:39

        Wow, I didn’t know colder temperatures had that effect on engines. Thanks for that.

        1. @william-brierty – it will be even more pronounced with the turbo’s! Essentially it’s the same thing that happens at alittude: if the air is warmer it is less dense (as it is higher up), so the fuel/air mixture isn’t at optimum and you lose some power.

          The biggest factor here though is the development, but that definetly contributes somewhat!

          1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            7th March 2013, 8:38

            You’re just showing off now.

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