Posted on February 5, 2009
Schuey on Ferrari's testing plans | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

Despite Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali’s suggestion last month that Michael Schumacher’s experience with slick tyres could be very useful to the team as they prepare their challenge for 2009, I see that Michael Schumacher said recently that he will not be driving the new F60.

Schumacher, who turned 40 last month, has been a consultant to Ferrari ever since his retirement as a driver in 2006. He has driven as a super-tester on several occasions since then, but with restrictions on testing so severe now, he has decided that the work should be left to the race drivers.

Schuey, who has yet to define his role with the team for 2009, told the Koln Express, the local paper of Cologne, near his home town “The winter tests are very important. Especially given the ban during the season. It’s a preparation for the whole season. As I see it, it’s up to the race drivers to do the work, not testers. I’m speaking to Ferrari at the moment to see whether they see it the same way.”

It’s amazing to think just how different this situation is from when Michael was driving. In the late 1990s and early 2000s he spent over 200 days away from home in a year, with promotional activities, races and tests. The testing element of it was huge, often up to 20 days before the start of the season, and then two or three days in every week following a Grand Prix.

Ferrari committed a lot to testing because they had a special budget from Bridgestone, rumoured to be around £20 million per season, to carry out tyre development tests. Of course they would test all manner of new things on the car at the same time. It was quite a big advantage to have budget, two test tracks (Fiorano and Mugello) and unlimited test days.

It’s one of the reasons McLaren invested so heavily in simulation technology in the early 2000s, because they did not have the same luxury with testing as Ferrari. Now that investment is paying off massively as they are miles ahead and it’s Ferrari who are playing catch up in that area.

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Schuey on Ferrari's testing plans
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  1.   1. Posted By: johnkell
        Date: February 5th, 2009 @ 12:10 pm 

    Interesting about Schumi – is his relationship with Ferrari defined at all for the coming season? If not, is his rumoured involvement with the ex-Honda squad still being mooted?

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  2.   2. Posted By: Facchetti
        Date: February 5th, 2009 @ 12:44 pm 

    Ferrari might well hang on to Schumacher (Schumi or Schuey?) to make that sure that no other team can benefit from either his talent or his Stepneyesque insider knowledge. But every day that passes he feels more like a chapter in the history of Maranello that is coming to a close. His input felt vital during the hand-over between the Brawn-era and Domenicali, but surely the “project” has moved on considerably since then.

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  3.   3. Posted By: Finn
        Date: February 5th, 2009 @ 12:48 pm 

    Think the lack of testing may save money but might lead to more cars dropping out of races with untested reliability issues … which could mean the viewers get less than they deserve from the F1 char-à-banc. Time will tell.

    Think Schumi is still leaving the door open to testing if Ferrari don’t agree with him about the drivers doing all the testing work. [ Thanks for the tip - Moderator ]

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  4.   4. Posted By: Mike
        Date: February 5th, 2009 @ 1:44 pm 

    I would rather see Schumacher come back to racing, perhaps at Le Mans, rather than advising Ferrari.

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  5.   5. Posted By: rpaco
        Date: February 5th, 2009 @ 3:08 pm 

    Schuey must be getting very frustrated not driving at/on/over the edge. Still as you point out JA he is getting on for a driver. Personally I would love to see him in the BTCC swapping paint with Mr Plato (if he has a drive this year). (The international series is not nearly so much fun) The thing about driving on the edge is that as James Hunt pointed out, the edge is always there in all forms of driving, he used to drive an old Austin with cross-ply tyres and was usually on the limit of adhesion cornering at 20-30mph. So I would not be surprised if Schuey pops up somewhere in some form of regular race series.

    It must be daunting for newcomers to be deprived of a reasonable pre-season learning period; if they survive, will this mean that they are better than those who had the advantage of many weeks testing? ;-)

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  6.   6. Posted By: rpaco
        Date: February 5th, 2009 @ 3:26 pm 

    Re KERS failure: The teams obviously have to do FMEAs for every possible type of failure both of all the individual KERS components and the KERS system itself. However the latter should have been done also as part of the design (ie the design FMEAs). For a race car the FMEA would be slightly simpler then that for a mass production road car, since one of the components in the score calculation is will the customer notice it? Will it prevent vehicle sale? Can it be retro remedied off line or in the holding area or does it need to run down a rectification line, if so what cost? Having done the FMEA the next step is to see what can be changed to reduce the score, prevent that mode of failure or make it’s effects less, or preferably zero. This can mean redesigning some components or changing methods of manufacture or materials. Of course they have to do this for every component and system on the car anyway. No doubt though, they are not tied by QS9000 or TS16949. Thus the amount of paperwork may be less, though the teams using electrical KERS will have to do two lots of FMEAs one for mechanical effects and one for electrical, this will include EMC considerations.

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  7.   7. Posted By: Finn
        Date: February 5th, 2009 @ 4:13 pm 

    Off topic … but how else do I ask a question …Got any thoughts on this — http://the-pit-lane.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=13062

    A “Gonda” deal for Senna imminent?

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  8.   8. Posted By: speedmerchants
        Date: February 5th, 2009 @ 7:25 pm 

    JA writes: First to Finn, I’m going to launch a forum very soon so you can ask questions and debate topics. the forum will be very well moderated – so no slagging anyone off – healthy intelligent debate only, which I’m sure is what you want.

    Second to Rpaco thanks for your regular interest and insightful posts, but I’m struggling to understand the one below. Can we keep the language nice and accessible to everyone? Thanks.

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  9.   9. Posted By: dcuk7
        Date: February 5th, 2009 @ 7:46 pm 

    I really hope Schumi decides to race in some form soon as he is an excellent driver. I do love Ferrari though so I hope he can give them some input and hopefully he has helped mould Massa some more.

    Off-topic: James, what are your plans during the season for this site? I ask because I’d love it if you did a podcast in between each race.

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  10.   10. Posted By: speedmerchants
        Date: February 5th, 2009 @ 8:45 pm 

    JA writes: Thanks for the suggestion, dcuk7. I’ve got a plan of content for the season and I’ll be letting you know about it soon.

    Podcasts between races are a possibility. Could be good fun.

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  11.   11. Posted By: rpaco
        Date: February 5th, 2009 @ 9:31 pm 

    Sorry JA and all. FMEA is Failure Mode Effect Analysis. It is a comprehensive, painstaking and formal way of anticipating everything (or trying to) that can break or go wrong and the consequences if it does. Then designing those problems out, by changing the form, (shape) materials, or other parameters. Each mode of failure gets a score, the ideal is zero.

    This also applies to electrical systems, both in a mechanical (what happens if this wire breaks?) and electro/magnetic manner (what happens when we drive past the radar station or the tramway with massive sparks flying?)

    EMC is Electro Magnetic Compatibility. All electrical systems on the vehicle must not emit or be affected by a range of injected or radiated voltages and frequencies. For example, there was some murmuring last year at Valencia about the electronics possibly being affected by something adjacent to the circuit.

    This year with electrical KERS there will be another source of high voltages within the vehicles and probably high current too. Larger voltages and currents are more likely to interfere with other parts of the system. It all has to be anticipated and dealt with as part of the FMEA.

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  12.   12. Posted By: rpaco
        Date: February 5th, 2009 @ 9:44 pm 

    Facchetti: Yes Schumi has a very brilliant mind and lot of detailed knowledge, but is he in the loop? I suspect not, therefore he is falling behind in the new designs, in KERS and in flaps. But on the other hand given an hour with a new car and a couple with the race engineers, he would be back up to speed and ahead of most! A bargain buy for any team who could afford him. ;-)

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  13.   13. Posted By: F1 links: Mosley’s “unusually stupid” remark | F1 Fanatic - The Formula 1 Blog | F1 news, cars, drivers and more
        Date: February 5th, 2009 @ 10:32 pm 

    [...] Schuey on Ferrari’s testing plans [...]


  14.   14. Posted By: Tom
        Date: February 5th, 2009 @ 11:43 pm 

    A “Gonda” deal for Senna imminent? Would that make him a Gondolier? Signing at this late stage, Senna would suffer even more than Buemi from lack of testing – only one test so far wasn’t it, in the nasty 2008 car.

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  15.   15. Posted By: beflox
        Date: February 6th, 2009 @ 8:18 am 

    Not really that surprising though, is it? When Schumacher was driving around and around, phoning the team up from home every day and sitting up late with the mechanics while they worked, it was to make sure he had every single detail covered in pursuit of his own success, quite rightly. Hard to imagine him, or any other driver, putting in the same work to watch someone else take the glory – especially when Kimi all but refuses to acknowledge Schumi’s input …

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  16.   16. Posted By: Finn
        Date: February 6th, 2009 @ 9:19 am 

    Thanks, James. I’m not too wild with enthusiasm for yet another F1 forum – but will be interested to see how yours pans out when it is up and running. Anything to save us from some of the the banalities of 606 would be welcome.

    I was genuinely interested in asking if you had an insight into Senna … as he has ruled GP2 out, it would suggest that he is fairly confident that he has got something lined up for F1 …. testing or perhaps a seat at a re-badged Honda. I agree with Tom above, though, that a late seat sans testing would be a very difficult leap into the F1 arena for Senna to make.

    I, for one, would welcome a JA podcast (video podcast?) … pre and post race podcasts (live ones would be best) would be very welcome …. I hate the way races finish and TV has just a few minutes to get covered in champers and to make the briefest of closing summaries. Something more in-depth would be very refreshing. A mix of views (professional and fans – technical, strategic, etc) would be a nice contrast.

    Essentially I want to turn you into JA.TV Online ;-) I know, I know – I’m not asking for much. SMILE!

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  17.   17. Posted By: Finn
        Date: February 12th, 2009 @ 4:15 pm 

    As I asked on 5 Feb about the possible move of Senna to “Honda/Gonda” …. http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns21178.html

    I THINK this story/rumour is likely to be accurate …. think Senna will be on the grid this season … know anything more, James?

    [Reply]

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