Mercedes sues employee seeking “unlawful advantage” for Ferrari

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Mercedes is suing one of its engineers for allegedly accessing confidential information to pass on to his future employer Ferrari.


Comment of the day

Maldonado came last in F1 Fanatic’s 2015 driver rankings
Does Pastor Maldonado’s status as a pay driver make him less likely to raise his game?

Maldonado can be an excellent driver on a good day — he just doesn’t have many good days.

I’ve always thought his PDVSA sponsorship has been detrimental to his driving. He’s never really had to worry about securing a seat for the next season. As long as he doesn’t build up enough penalty points for a ban then there’s no real consequences to him crashing.

I’m hoping that with Renault coming in and not needing his money for 2017, he will finally have some incentive to drive sensibly every week. Because he is very capable of driving well, he just needs to do it a lot more often.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Myles Woerner and Samuel Tatipamula!

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On this day in F1

Romain Grosjean secured his F1 comeback with Lotus on this day four years ago:

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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 “Mercedes sues employee seeking “unlawful advantage” for Ferrari”

  1. Is it just me, or can the original season review title indeed be seen from a pro-Rosberg angle, after all?

    Because I think there is always an interpretation that championship-caliber drivers (or indeed most successful people) all have one thing in common and that is that they would never ever give up – Hamilton certainly didn’t give up at any stage until his title was won, Vettel did not give up after a 2014 season which admittedly caused his to doubt himself and, similarly, Rosberg proved (with his late season rally) that he also has absolutely zero intentions of giving up his title dreams tough as it was to be beaten without mercy by Hamilton.

      1. @gordess W/o the “Nico Rosberg’s In It Too” line.

  2. The reason the MGU-H was included within the current engines is that it is a cutting-edge piece of technology directly related to development in road cars.
    According to Mercedes engine boss Andy Cowell, it is the one area where development in F1 is ahead of technology in road cars, with manufacturers hoping to use the knowledge gained in the production of road cars in the future.

    Yet Mercedes is one of the three who want to drop the MGU-H.

    That does not make sense.

    1. Maybe when the engine regulations were set out it was relevent but maybe now as technology moves on their is something else they want to use in it’s place?

      If not then it does not make sense.

  3. COTD. Good point. Maldonado would also have an increased chance to improve his driving if he did more laps.

    Getting past T1 would be one way to do this.

    1. I don’t think that a lack of laps is the cause of his woes, not least because he’s had plenty of practice sessions.

      1. But he can’t improve his racecraft side of him if he can’t make it past T1. Free practice sessions don’t help him with that at all.

  4. More downforce = harder to follow close behind. The drivers are all screaming for more tyre grip, the fans are all screaming for more tyre grip, what the hell is wrong with the people making the decisions? Mark my words if it continues this way, 2017 will be the worst year yet of ‘I was almost 2 seconds a lap faster and I still couldn’t get close enough to pass without my tyres going off after a lap’.

    1. We are also getting much wider rear tyres.

      1. Which will probably be ruined after about 5 laps if they stay closer than 2 seconds behind the slower car/driver ahead.

        1. It’s actually the fronts that wear quicker when following, as the reduced downforce from the front wing causes them to scrub. And of course the solution to that is to widen the rears…

      2. That’s right Mike, 1 step forward and 2 steps back, should be the official motto of F1.

    2. Samuel Beach (@)
      9th December 2015, 19:19

      @keithcollantine Would be great to get your opinion on the 2017 regs. Can’t help but feel it’s a step backwards from what the 2009 regs were trying to do in terms of making racing closer. Another half baked attempt at improving the overused phrase “the show”.

  5. Interesting to see the 2017 changes, but it’s strange to me that it doesn’t seem like any of this is going to actually force changes on what appears to be the biggest problem in F1, which is the dirty air behind the cars combined with the dependency on aero grip. As long as aero grip is critical, and the cars leave a disrupted wake behind them, you can’t get close to overtake without destroying your tires, which means that you then have to rely on garbage like DRS.

    Bigger wings don’t matter. A big diffuser appears to me to actively make things worse. Bigger tires are a help, and the regulations appear to encourage nicer looking cars. But unless they address the reliance on aero they’re not fixing the biggest problem (on track) in the sport at the moment. :\

    1. How would you fix it?

      (I don’t think there is actually a solution to dirty air from cars going at 200km/h. And I don’t think you can reduce the following cars dependence on aero without having them go far, far slower.)

      1. @mike, if they had no aero devices at all then the following car would have an advantage over the leading car…

        Admittedly I say this in jest as there’s no way anyone in F1 would want to turn the clock back 50 years, and rightly so I guess (they’d be so much more fun to watch though). But there’s still areas to investigate like ground effect and obviously more mechanical grip, ultimately I think it could be much better than the current situation but it may require a ‘back to the drawing board’ attitude rather than constantly tweaking the existing status quo

      2. Ground effects + no aero + big tyres + small rear wing

        1. @paeschli, how can you have “no aero” and “ground effects” in the same package? Ground effect is just a specific name for a particular aerodynamic effect that occurs when you have a body moving through a medium in close proximity to a fixed boundary – it isn’t as if ground effect is some sort of ethereal magic that is removed from the wider branch of aerodynamics.

          1. That “ground effect” he’s referring to alludes to a special floor design that helps create a vacuum underneath the car. This effect doesn’t depend as much from driving in clean air as does downforce generated by aerodynamic devices whose performance depends directly on the stream of air they’re exposed to (a.k.a. “wings”).

      3. If it were up to me, my general approach would be to relax the rules about the specific dimensions/features of the car (wing size, exhaust position, winglets, etc.) and open up the potential for unique-looking cars that take wildly different approaches, but I’d mandate that you run with a sensor array attached a few feet behind the car that measures the turbulence in the air & requires you to meet a certain spec. How you get there, I don’t care. Golf ball dimples all over the main surfaces of the car? Fine. Tiny wings w/ ground effects? Fine. I’d even bring back all manner of active aero, because if the mandate is clean air a few feet behind the car, then having the aero profile of the car change at different speeds makes a lot of sense. But without the idiotic artificial DRS rules. You can alter the aero profile any time you want. How do you enforce it in races? That’s an interesting question, and I’m sure a solution is possible. Even if you had to instrument every car on track to sense the car in front of it’s airflow. Obviously, with winds and things you need a margin of operation, but yeah – test within certain parameters, validate those tests that the cars meet the restrictions, then on track you open things up since a lot more variables are involved. Could people “game” the system? Probably. But they can game the system now anyway, so I don’t see that as a fatal flaw.

        But ultimately, it’d be about making a lot of the existing “fix a symptom not the problem” rules obsolete, open up the breadth of engineering solutions that teams can take (which also helps with budget, because it means a small but clever team can actually beat a big, well-resourced team), and make the rules actually fix the real problems that we’re seeing on track.

    2. @helava I’m totally with you but I am hopeful that we are missing some things about this and that surely they know through and through about the dirty air problem, not that it’s new…just particularly detrimental in this current climate.

      I’m hopeful that there’s a large neutral zone mandated for the front wing, that the lower rear wing helps, as will the wide rear tires…compounds and behavior yet to be determined for mechanical grip for how many laps and what cliff level, and I hope that the diffuser and floor rules create ground effects with ideally a little less emphasis on wings, and more from GE and tires to achieve their claimed increased speeds and downforce.

      I’m sure some of you experts can talk about the effects of each aspect and their combined projected effect on performance that in some cases or all may or may not align with my hopeful best case scenario outlook for 2017. Seem to recall there has been a previous headline and conversation on this.

  6. I feel like Mercedes guys are lately devoting themselves to entertaining reporters and stirring all over the place….it’s like they haven’t stopped talking after Abu Dhabi…

    1. maybe they are taking a lead from one of their drivers :-)

  7. Something I read ages ago stuck with me. A few parts like the rear wing end plates should be plain and standardised. I’m sure the teams are quite happy if all those fins and details they add disrupt the airflow for other teams following. How can you pass a car you can’t follow! Explains why some cars appear harder to follow. I’m not for standard parts but this is the only way to force the teams into not ‘accidentally’ disrupting the air behind.

    1. Adam, the thing is, there has been an analysis undertaken of that situation, and normally it transpires that the sort of aerodynamic device which would have such an effect on the following car would cause greater disruption to the car to which it was fitted. There is little benefit in making the car harder to pass when the performance hit would put you behind most other cars in the first place…

  8. Dropping the MGU-H would be stupid because is one of the biggest areas of these engines where there is a lot of potential for development & where there is a lot of performance gains to be made.

    The reason for this is that while the MGU-K is restricted to 120 kW (160bhp), The amount of energy able to be harvested & generated from the MGU-H is completely unrestricted, Thats why so much effort is been put into development of that area of the power unit.

    1. @gt-racer

      Dropping the MGU-H would be stupid

      So it’s inevitable then.

      1. Ahahahahaha this made me laugh too much to be honest! But it’s true.

    2. Maybe if they opened up more scope for the MGU-K it would make some sence @gt-racer, @hohum. But yeah, the signle part of the engine that is really innovative would be taken away with the MGU-H.

  9. Could someone post a good article or two explaining the upsides/downsides of difference methods of downforce generation on F1 cars as it pertains to “racing”?

    1. Very briefly and simplifying: more downforce from wings leads to more turbulent air behind the car; and the wings need clean air to work properly. Downforce generated by other means (like the floor of the car) makes the following air less turbulent, and working in dirty air is also less of a problem. So racing-wise, more wings means you cannot follow as closely.

      1. But most of floor downforce is greatly sffectedby front wing that channels Air to the splitter, floor and difusser.

        F1 downforce is more than the sum of its parts…

        What would work is much simplified front wing… Like a standardised front wing… But teams dont even want to hear about that…

  10. So Bernie and Jean think they can tell Mercedes where to go, fat chance, Mercedes can drop F1 anytime they like with decades of PR material in hand, ” Mercedes, technology to advanced for F1″ etc. and who’s going to supply engines that can compete with Ferrari then?

    1. I guess that is why Bernie was keen to sign on Renault until 2024 @hohum. Because Honda also is rather likely to jump ship if the MGU-H is dropped (the “simpler” part of things)

    2. Jean worked many years for Ferrari and Bernie loves them so much he gives them the biggest share of the revenue. It is not surprising they would like to see Ferrari as the only competitive engine supplier left in F1.

      Remember, too, that Bernie’s deal with Mercedes means he will have to pay them an extra 30 million a year for the next 5 years, now they have won two championships. If he can get them out of the sport he gets to keep that money.

  11. Personally I don’t think that exactly this proposed increase in downforce will hurt racing. I may be wrong, but as I see it now – the problem is that we have the lion’s share of downforce generated by front wing and almost no downforce at the rear-end of cars with these awkward rear wings and no beam wing and small diffusers. It’s sort of “I want to believe” things, but I still hope that with cars being less depended on the front wings and with Pirelli sorted out their deg in dirty air (why on Earth this thing should be at all?) we will see battles of at least mid 2000-s level.

  12. Interesting that the 2017 rules have nothing to say about making the cars lighter. Wouldn’t that be an “easy” solution to making the cars faster? If the old rule (10 kg means around 3 tenths per lap) is still applicable, then shaving some 50 kg off the cars would make them much faster. Then again, the problem of tall drivers would rise again, but that could be cured by other rules and means.

    1. Makes sense so I don’t think this is very likely.

  13. Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault have proposed getting rid of MGU-H, but Honda is implacably opposed.

    I can’t understand why Honda are suddenly so “anti” getting rid of MGU-H, which is their weak point.

    1. For Honda getting the MGU-H working is more or less the point of why they wanted to be in – the development of this is really innovative and if they can get it to work it will be a nice boost for their road cars in the future @drycrust

  14. Formula 1’s 2017 cars are set to deliver more downforce than any other time in the sport’s history, according to early data produced by the teams.

    I can’t understand where this idea gets traction from. All this will do is mean more “Trulli trains”, and to fix that you more need for DRS zones and need more distance behind to be added to “in DRS range”.
    Are we able to have the longest straights on the tracks widened to allow cars that follow to get out of the “wake” of dirty air behind a car?
    Teams which happen to do a good job of aerodynamics will have an advantage over those that don’t, and since there are restrictions on “aero-development”, that could result in a situation similar to what we have now, which is where one team dominates the season because no one is allowed to catch up.

    1. All this will do is mean more “Trulli trains”, and to fix that you more need for DRS zones and need more distance behind to be added to “in DRS range”.

      Yep @drycrust and Horner has said that exact thing. They know what they’re doing, but not why they’re doing it.

      1. Yes, and so did … I think it was Romain Grosjean, and so did others on this blog, and lots of other people have stated their opposition to this idea elsewhere. Each one of them is one voice, and I am one voice, and when lots of people express an opinion that is different from what the few that want more downforce think, then maybe they will change their mind, or if the don’t change their mind then at least they may feel obliged to give reasons why this change is good. If no one expresses an opinion that is different from what the people pushing this idea think, then you can almost guarantee the current proposal will become the accepted standard in 2017.

    2. @drycrust I understand where you’re coming from, and I agree in principle that the changes are unlikely to help the racing as such. But it’s worth keeping in mind that LMP1 cars generate more downforce than F1 cars, and they manage to run nose to tail and have great battles and overtakes. Obviously a Le Mans Prototype and an F1 car are totally different beasts, but I’m making the point here that it’s a little too simplistic to simply conclude that higher levels of downforce always mean harder overtaking. It’s something inherent to the characteristics of an F1 car.

      1. LMP1 cars are often running different strategies when they occasionaly run nose to tail for position. The air flow from the front is not as delicate as F1 cars downforce for F1 the whole car is reliant on delicate air flows from the front wing where LMP1 has full bodywork and more options on working the airflow?

        I always wonder whether rear wing and diffuser angles can be changed within the rules so you still have huge downforce but the rooster tail of air that exits centrally from behind the car is split in 2 and moves off to the sides leaving a relativley clean airflow directly behind the car.

    3. Dirty air on the straights is not a problem, except for cooling.

      Aero is important in corners: if you try to get close through a corner (to set up a pass on the straight) the turbulence reduces your downforce, which reduces your grip, which reduces your lateral G, which means you have to go slower and you also wear out your tyres more. So the dirtier the air you are running in the further behind you are at the start of the straights.

      DRS was an attempt by aerodynamicists to compensate for this, by giving the car behind the advantage of less drag on the straight. If they had proposed the more obvious solution of less aero they would be out of work. We are paying the price for putting the inmates in charge of the asylum.

  15. Still mystified as to why the WMSC thinks the answer to one veto is another veto. Actually, not mystified. Depressed.

  16. That tweet is awesome I guffawed hard

  17. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    9th December 2015, 15:21

    McHonda have a title sponsor!!!!

    It’s Santander again.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      9th December 2015, 15:24

      Spoke too soon, looks like it’s just Jenson flogging 123 mortgages

    2. I thought Santander preferred to advertise with Ferrari.

  18. Regarding the merc spy scandal . In the words of Bill Belichick, Head coach of the New England Patriots: ” if you’re not trying to cheat, you’re not trying to win “.

    1. However, the only one trying to cheat was the bloke that got caught trying to take stuff from Merc in hopes of bringing it to Ferrari. Neither team has cheated wrt this current scenario.

  19. Here is the new season. :D

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