Mick Schumacher, Toto Wolff, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023 pre-season test

Schumacher has “very rare opportunity” at Mercedes – Ocon

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Former Mercedes reserve driver Esteban Ocon says Mick Schumacher has an important opportunity to learn from the team while serving as their third driver for 2023.

In brief

Schumacher has “very rare opportunity” at Mercedes – Ocon

Mick Schumacher has an important opportunity to learn from Mercedes while active as their third driver for 2023, believes Esteban Ocon.

Mick Schumacher, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023 pre-season test
Schumacher is Mercedes’ reserve driver this season
Schumacher raced the last two seasons with Haas before being dropped by the team at the end of last year. He has since joined Mercedes as their reserve driver for 2023, a role Ocon held in 2019 before he became a Renault driver.

“He has a very rare opportunity – and an opportunity that I had as well – to work with a team that has dominated the sport for so long and that has huge knowledge,” Ocon said. “That’s not a negligible thing. It’s a very great asset, when you come back as a full-time driver.

“You’ve seen a team like that work from the inside and you have keys and information that you can bring to your future team. So I’m hoping Mick will find a solution very soon. And I have no doubt that a team would be interested in him.”

Sargeant excited for debut after “most kilometres I’ve ever done”

Williams rookie Logan Sargeant says he “can’t wait to go racing” after he logged 154 laps in the second day of testing to complete his pre-season preparation.

Sargeant covered over 800km on Friday in the FW45 to finish his testing programme with 1,239km – the greatest distance of any driver in the test so far. The Williams driver says he is excited to make his grand prix debut next weekend.

“I think today tops the most kilometres I’ve ever done in a day,” Sargeant said. “I was able to physically hold up well. We got through so much running which is a testament to the team and the hard work they’ve put in.

“Throughout the long runs this afternoon the car was in a good window and I could drive it exactly how I wanted to. There are still somethings we’re chasing but I’ll leave that up to Alex [Albon] tomorrow. Overall, I’m really happy with where we’ve got the car and I can’t wait to go racing next week.”

IndyCar adds alternate compound to Gateway oval race

IndyCar will extend its mandatory use of the alternate tyre compound rule to an oval race for the first time this season.

The series’ regulations require all cars to run on the alternate compound tyres for at least two laps during all road course and street circuit races, but not during oval races, in which only primary compound tyres are used.

This year, IndyCar will extend the alternate tyre requirement to its race at the Gateway speedway, the final oval race of the season. Other oval rounds, including the Indianapolis 500, will not be affected by the rule change.

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Comment of the day

Is Formula 1 in the budget cap era slowly becoming less of an engineering battle and more about accountancy and spreadsheet management? No, says Renan Matinuzzo:

I disagree that F1 is becoming an accountant’s sport. I actually believe is a welcome constraint that may lead to, in the future, less strict technical regulations.

These changes are actually aimed at improving the sport, hopefully levelling the playing field in the mid-long term and leveraging more on ingenuity and talent rather than the size of the coffers of each team.

Big teams will have to change their approach on how they design cars to something in between what they currently do and the smaller teams do, reaching for performance advantage throughout risky innovative concepts rather than high levels of R&D expenditure mid-season. This will create variability and a natural shake of the pecking order.

At the same time, smaller teams will be able to invest in modernizing their infrastructure and capabilities for future seasons without the drawback of restricting their R&D budget to the point of falling back too much from start to end of seasons.

Both things, I think, will allow F1 to eventually be less prescriptive in their regulations as, at the end of the day, all teams will have the same budget and will have to take risks knowing that they won’t be able to spend billions to catch up if they come with the wrong solutions – a benefit big teams currently have.
Renan Matinuzzo

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Ivz, Jake and Mike Roach!

On this day in motorsport

  • 30 years ago today reigning champions Williams were given permission to enter the upcoming season despite having failed to submit an entry. New cost-cutting regulations shortening practice and limiting tyre use were also introduced

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 10 comments on “Schumacher has “very rare opportunity” at Mercedes – Ocon”

    1. The terms ‘level the playing field’ & ‘performance equality’ have no business been discussed in F1, In the pinnacle of the sport.

      If you want a level playfield or equal performance then go watch one of the many spec categories.

      F1 is about extremes, Pushing the boundaries, Technical development, Enough technical freedom to allow innovation.

      If uou don’t want or like any of those and want a level playing field or performance equality then F1 isn’t for you. All your doing by forcing more Equal performance and less freedom to level the playing field is ruin F1 fir those who love it for what it is, what it’s always been and what is should always be!!!!

      1. F1 isn’t what you describe at all, and hasn’t been for a very long time. Arguably, never, as there have always been technical restrictions for sporting, financial, safety and entertainment purposes.
        I’d suggest that if you think F1 really is what you describe, F1 isn’t for you either.

        F1 is built on the premise of marketing – not engineering.
        The only thing any team enters F1 for now (if they are allowed to) is to make profit.

      2. That ship has long since sailed, probably since the late 80s early 90s. Although you can find similar examples from earlier on, that was about the time the brakes were pulled on motorsport. Whether that’s in rally, endurance or open wheel racing (F1 and Indy). Regulations since then have been put in place to keep the performance of the cars relatively similar. This ebbs and flows, with some sets of regulations favouring straight line speed (as in F1 during 2014-2016) and others favouring cornering speed. Giving manufacturers a chance to market their flagship technology has also influenced regulations, with the FIA/ACO biasing sportscars regulations to favour diesel engines during the mid 2000s, and then hybrid technology in the 2010s.

        F1 is wasting millions on pointless gimmicks like the miniscule inside frontwing endplate ‘wing’ on the Mercedes and Haas cars seen during the current test in Bahrain. Development is all about maximizing and optimizing within the heavily prescriptive regulations, and so even with an entirely new car the difference between a Red Bull and a Williams will rarely be more than 2 seconds over a lap. While this is what ultimately determines who wins, it’s largely a pointless exercise in terms of developing motorsport technology.

    2. McLaren posts Oscars first lap?

      Seems they can’t tell the difference between Oscar and Lando – not looking good for them if they can’t even get their video right.

    3. The problem for Mick is that most teams have clear driver plans for the medium & or longer term, so his chances of becoming a full-time driver again next year are effectively non-existent, but 2025 is another matter.

      An American referring to distance covered by km rather than miles is a positive surprise, although I guess this is caused by him living in Europe for a little while.

      I wonder who thought blurring the marshals’ heads 7+ months after getting seen during the race & relevant weekend would be useful anymore.

      Zero reason for regrets as Mclaren was the best viable option when he signed & before without a guarantee of an Alpine chance.

      The new winter shutdown through Christmas & New Year phase is good for the teams, so seeing anyone complaining is surprising.

      COTD couldn’t be more accurate.

      1. @jerejj For the winter shutdown, if you go to the original tweet (the one quoted in the embedded one), the person has explained their reasons for why they aren’t happy in a reply below.

        Hopefully this works –

    4. My gosh, I’ve never seen a driver get so much publicity after being so average and getting the sack. What is this? Every day, every news site, there’s a story about Mick Schumacher.

      1. A lot of people like the idea of a Schumacher who isn’t beating their favourite and/or compatriot so relentlessly that it got to the point where the FIA felt obliged to intervene and change the F1 points system. And then qualifying. And then the tyre regulations. And then the engines. And then the testing rules.

    5. Mark in Florida
      25th February 2023, 14:10

      Unlimited budgets are a dead end in my opinion. It leads to sloppy engineering and dead ends that don’t stop in time to matter. Look at Toyota, Honda, and many others who go down the rabbit hole in search of a solution that’s not there. If you have a limited but reasonable budget to use you are forced to make better decisions regarding your car solutions.

      1. In theory, but if a team does make a wrong decision, which will inevitably happen as no team intentionally pursues a wrong development path, and that affects the car to a significant degree, it could instantly make the season a write off.

        So seasons become more stale, there is less competition and viewers have to deal with not just dominant years but dominant decades. After all, the last time a team other than Mercedes or Red Bull won was in 2008.

    Comments are closed.