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Schumacher turns 41 today, test schedule set
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Schumacher turns 41 today, test schedule set
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Jan 2010   |  12:57 pm GMT  |  49 comments

Michael Schumacher will be blowing out the 41 candles on his birthday cake today.

Picture 61
But his strict training regime will probably mean that he may not be able to eat much of it, despite his notoriously sweet tooth! He is set to drive for the first time four weeks from now in Valencia.

The seven times world champion is building up to a dramatic comeback at the Bahrain Grand Prix and according to Bild and Gazetta dello Sport he will have limited time to test the Mercedes car before the first event. As it’s Sunday I’ve not been able to call the team to verify, but I will do so.

The schedule calls for just four tests and Bild reckons that these are as follows:

February 1-3 in Valencia
February 10-13 in Jerez
February 17-20 in Jerez
February 25 to 28 in Barcelona

These are all one car tests so the driving will have to be shared with Nico Rosberg. There are a total of 15 days, which means, assuming reasonable reliability, both drivers should notch up somewhere around 2,000 miles of testing before the first race. Mercedes boss Norbert Haug is quoted as saying, “The tests will be divided equally between the two drivers.”

Incidentally, I’m interested to see what Mercedes will call this car. What will the type designation be? All previous Mercedes Grand Prix cars started with a “W” – as in W154. Perhaps the W110 – to designate F1 and the year 2010? More details will emerge this month, meanwhile the FOTA group launch idea has been shelved.

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49 Comments
  1. parrafone says:

    So when are the 2010 cars being revealed?

    Surely not as early as 1st February?

    I mean, I’d be pleasantly surprised if it was!

    Also, is the 1st February test not just a tyre test? If they’re not using 2010 cars presumably they’ll use 2009 cars with 2010 tyres? Is that correct?

  2. Tim Goodchild says:

    I hope they explore the possibility of doing a joint launch or maybe a two-tier launch in the future (bottom 7 teams on one date, and top 6 at another). I’m sure Bernie would enjoy the publicity and TV channels could arrange a great pre-season programme where all the new cars/driver pairings are together before that first race. Just sounded like a good concept that deserves further thought…

  3. Ed says:

    I was also thinking about the Mercedes chassis name as well today. I think ‘W210′ would be another possible name they could use.

    Also, wasn’t there going to be a test scheduled in Bahrain before the first race (hence why it was the opening race, so the teams could leave equipment there)?

    1. Dazzla says:

      W210 is the model number of a road car (the E Class) produced mid nineties to early 2000′s. Think they may pass on that one !

  4. Rhys says:

    @parrafone, the majority of the cars should be launched before 1st February, to make the most out of the tests. Last year six of the ten new cars were released before 20 January.

  5. Mario says:

    The Solar System is no longer solar, it’s Schumacher System now.

  6. Robbm says:

    my birthday is on Jan 5th, that’s about all me and MS have in common, okay with the exception of the sweet tooth.
    James tell him I’ll eat enough for both of us lol

    Rob

  7. Daniel says:

    Hi James,

    Just wondered if you knew who would be engineering Schumacher next season? Technically he replaced Jenson Button, so will Andrew Shovlin automatically be his race engineer?

    1. Nick says:

      I’d be interested to know this. Shovlin and Button seemed quite matey together. Will he now go to McLaren? Did Schumacher always have the same race engineer?

      1. James Allen says:

        No, Schumacher had various engineers. Button is chummy with Andrew Shovlin, but I do not believe he is transferring. Unless he gets promoted I would see him or Jock Clear working with Schumacher

      2. John F says:

        Yes, Schumi working with Jock Clear would be quite interesting – if you consider that Jock worked with JV during a time when they had one or the other run-ins (cough …) with each other …

  8. Andy says:

    It is great to see the testing will be with us relatively soon. I do think its crazy to have one car testing.

    I hope Jean Todts influence will have a more positive sensible attitude to the need for cost savings in future.

    That is not the pinnacle of motorsport speaking there, regardless of costs. Surely you could carry two cars, and just use the majority of the same mechanics for both cars?

    James,

    do the same mechanics attend both races and tests these days(I seemed to think that previously there were some teams with separate staff for that)?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes it’s the same mechanics as test teams have been let go

      1. jose says:

        james, any news om his race engineer, and a brief history on the guy, please.

  9. Proesterchen says:

    Couldn’t be W210 or W110, as both have been used before:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_W110
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_W210

    I don’t see how a Formula 1 car could fit in the current internal design designation, so I guess they might just call it W2010.

    1. James Allen says:

      It will have to be W (meaning Wagen) I think. W010 hasn’t been used before has it?

      1. Proesterchen says:

        I don’t think there was a W010, the German Wikipedia has a nice timeline for all Mercedes road cars and their internal designations:

        http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_W210

        From that, they might go with a W2xx – W20x, W21x, W22x, W24x and W25x already being taken by various lines of products, a W281 (for the 8 cylinders and first year) might do.

        Other than that, I guess they could use the obvious (and somewhat ironic) F2010, if they can convince themselves that the new racer is part of Mercedes’ line of concept cars.

      2. Michael C says:

        to quote Clark Gable ‘frankly my dear I dont give a damn’ but if its going to be W something W2010 seems sensible

  10. madjon88 says:

    I suppose I should have Michaels share of birthday cake, as I share the same Birthday!

  11. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    James, happy New Year. A few questions for you on this:

    1) Do Brawn have a simulator? If so, how good is it?

    2) Will Michael Schumacher get to drive a privately owned F1 car to acclimatise?

    3) Do you think that he will have enough testing days to be sharp enough in the latest F1 cars prior to Bahrain?

    Many thanks.

    1. James Allen says:

      Happy New Year
      1. Yes, not bad, I think. Ant Davidson did a lot on it last year
      2. Not that I know of
      3. Hard to say. It’s not a lot is it?

      1. Nick F says:

        Speaking of Mr Davidson. He’s lucked out on finding a team it seems. That’s a shame. He’s a nice guy and I was hoping he’d get a drive. Is he staying the reserve driver for Mercedes James?

        Do you think he’s at home now yanking the neck on his Michael Schumacher voodoo doll? ;-)

  12. Perhaps with their sense of history Mercedes will restart the Grand Prix car numbering series where they left off.

    They have used different number series for their road cars : I’ve owned a W123, first made in 1977/8, a W107 first made in 1972 and a W124 first manufactured in 1985/6

    But wasn’t their last Grand Prix car the W196 of 1954 ?

    1. James Allen says:

      Knowing Haug, he’ll be playing the history card, but with a modern spin on it.

  13. Trent says:

    James – what car numbers will Mercedes run with this season? Any chance of the magic #22?!

    Do you think the ‘ranked’ car numbering system is the way to go? I agree the champion should always be #1, but I miss the use of #27 and the like, that became synonamous with some great drivers. Another of the nice little quirky things that has been done away with…

  14. Peter says:

    Are teams allowed to privately run their caers like Brawn GP did at Silverstone last year, just before their first test in Barcelona?

    1. James Allen says:

      That was an initial shakedown test. Good question

  15. Rob Clenshaw says:

    The Mercedes-Benz W25 was the first to be given the W designation (for wagen) in 1934. Before the 750kg formula which debuted that year, there was a period in which Grands Prix were run to Formula Libre rules. Mercedes-Benz entered several of their SSK sports cars.

    After the W25, there was the W125, the W154 and later the W196. Sometimes you may hear the designation W163, which is erroneously used and refers to the W154 with its 1939 bodywork update.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes I read that too. Any idea how the numbering works with Mercedes?

      1. Rob Clenshaw says:

        I believe the chassis was named after the engine it first utilised. For instance, the engine in the W25 was the M25 (the M is for motor). This is also how we end up with the W163 anomaly – it is actually a W154 chassis with a new M163 engine and updated bodywork.

        This then begs the question, how does the numbering work with the engines? I don’t know, but it clearly isn’t the same system at work today. I’d like to see the new car have a W designation though, to make the connection with history.

      2. Ilanin says:

        Well, the recent series of engines out of Brixworth (starting in 1995, when Daimler was only a 25% shareholder in Ilmor) all have the form FOyyyz, where yyy is a number and z is a letter. It seems that the FO110 was the 3-litre V10 engine, which went through iterations E to R (except I, presumably to avoid confusion with 1) between 1997 and 2005. The switch to a 2.4 litre V8 caused the engine to become the FO108 but the lettering was kept, so we’ve gone through S to W in recent seasons.

        From this I determine that the engines are FO1(number of cylinders)(block designator). I have no idea what FO1 stands for.

      3. Ilanin says:

        Though I suppose that “Formula One” is the obvious guess for FO1. Ilmor/Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines do make engines for other purposes.

  16. Alan. Zechter says:

    Great point, maybe he will bring his old engineer from Ferrari? It would be interesting to know if any other Ferrari staff are moving over to Mercedes now that Schumacher is there.

    On a slightly different topic, does anybody know why Schumacher split with his spiritual guy? What was that all about!? Seen him I’m the force India garage a few times, so maybe he is working his magc over there these days.

    1. James Allen says:

      Good point. Balbir Singh, he was with Fisi the last few years. Schumacher got into working with Johannes Peil, the doctor and his staff before he quit in 2006 so I imagine he will continue with them. I have a feeling that electronics engineer Tad Czapski will be joining Mercedes soon. He handed in his notice at Renault before Christmas. He was an unsung part of the Dream Team at Ferrari.

    2. jose says:

      his old engineer at ferrari, worked with kimmi during the 2007 season, and he will be with alonso in 2010. But i haven’t heard who will be with schumi this year. We’ll know soon i imagine.

      1. Peter says:

        Do you mean Chris Dyer? If so wasn’t he promoted last year to Sporting Director, with Andrea Stella taking over as race engineer to Kimi? Surely Andy Shovlin will take over as Schumacher’s race engineer at Mercedes.

      2. jose says:

        you are right on the money. Dyer will step down, to engineer alonso. And shovlin will engineer schumacher, as allen says on his last post.

    3. John F says:

      Schumi worked with Chris Dyer during his Ferrari days. Dyer got promoted in 2008 (I think he and Kimi didn’t really got along during their 2007 season).

      I doubt Dyer will “step-down” from his current post and go back to being a sole race engineer – just for Schumi’s sake.

  17. Paul says:

    James, keep up the great work on your website. I find it the most insightful and enthusiastically up to date on the web.

    It didnt take long for Schumacher to be on the pace at Felipes karting event (which he won) or the Race of Champions (whih he almost won) in the last few months against top current drivers, I doubt it will be much different in an F1 car.

    The only question mark is if the car isnt up to it. Would his desire to fight fade in the midfield?

  18. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    Hi James,

    Any idea as to who will be Michael’s race engineer?

    I am guessing that it will definitely not be Jock Clear after the Jerez 1997 debacle! Is there any chance of Chris Dyer moving over?

    1. James Allen says:

      Chris is more senior than that now at Ferrari – he’s head of track operations – and he’s happy there as far as I can tell.

  19. Josh says:

    James, can you give us some insight to what’s actually happening at these tests?
    It seems there’s a bit of confusion between whether they’re merely for tyre compound/shakedown purposes or actual full-blown test days with ’10 spec cars.

  20. Zami from Melbourne, Australia says:

    Let me just start by saying that all the guys that posts comments and their opinions are incredible. I’m really surprised by the depth of knowledge that you guys have are very admirable. Like the Ausies say, “Good On You Mate”. Many thanks to you too James for creating this incredible blog.

    Now talking about Schumacher turning 41, he is in a great shape compare to any other 41 year old around. He certainly is physically fit enough to give the young ones run for his money. As Brawns were the most reliable car last year there is no reason why they are not capable of giving him the same or better reliability. I read Vettel’s comments on Schumacher’s comeback in planet-f1.com that all the hypes will die down after the season’s under way. I disagree with that slightly. The hypes will not die down at all even if Schumacher’s at the back of the grid in every race. However, in the offseason headlines about his comeback kept things interesting and we all love racing after all. So, I guess it won’t just as much unless he pulls off a really dominating form again.

    James, I’ve been wondering about the TV coverage. The whole race program in Australia goes for about 4 hours including pre race analysis, interviews, highlights of free practices and of course after race stuff. So, we get around 2 hours (more or less) of track action. During Australian Grand Prix we get non-stop full 3 days coverage (gotta love that, at least 15 hours per day). In my opinion 2010 grid is the most outstanding grid I have ever seen. Does that mean the small teams won’t get much coverage? Are there any rules about how much minimum time of coverage every team should get?

    Oh another question before I submit my comment, it’s slightly off the topic. What other options are good enough as tyre suppliers in F1 if Bridgestone does decide to pull out? Of course Michelin is a great choice, but is there anything else in the market as innovative and exciting as these two brands?

    1. James Allen says:

      No I think technically it’s too hard for anyone else at this late stage. Pirelli are unlikely to do it, may end up with some kind of deal to get Bridgestone to stay on. It’s certainly something that needs to be sorted very soon

      1. Ahmed Al Mutawa says:

        Hi James,
        On tyre issue, is it pssible for goodyesr to step in hence they have previous experience with f1?

      2. Lilia says:

        Am gonna throw a strange one. How about Dunlop?

      3. Zami from Melbourne, Australia says:

        I don’t think Dunlop tyres are technically suitable for F1 cars or F1 tracks. Pirelli is a good option but not good enough to last 70 (more or less) laps. From what I know about Pirelli tyre compouds are suited to road cars or heavy vehicles only. Plus being the tyre supplier in F1 is quiet expensive & most companies doesn’t have the manpower required to supply these tyres all year long anyway.

  21. imo says:

    Hi James

    Is there a ban (or limit) on off season testing? for example can michael/mercedes GP test more than the schedule given above if they wanted to?

    Thank you

  22. Fausto Cunha says:

    Id like to see more pre-season test, arround 2000 thousand miles for each driver seems short.

    It´s fair that the test is divided by the two team drivers.

    A month to go…

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