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Has Mercedes hurt Rosberg to help Schumacher?
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Has Mercedes hurt Rosberg to help Schumacher?
Posted By: James Allen  |  12 May 2010   |  1:31 pm GMT  |  126 comments

There is a lot of chatter at the moment about the updates on the Mercedes in Barcelona being done to help Michael Schumacher, but at the expense of Nico Rosberg. Rosberg had a stronger start to the season, but in Spain the form was turned around.

Rosberg: Step backwards (Darren Heath)


Rosberg went into Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix in second place in the championship, but had had his most uncompetitive weekend of the season; he could not get the car to work as he wanted it and scored no points.

In contrast, Michael Schumacher qualified well and finished in fourth place, his most competitive showing of the season so far.

Inevitably this has led some commentators to suggest that Mercedes is working to get a car which works for Schumacher at the expense of Rosberg’s competitiveness. Given Schumacher’s track record in this department, the stories have gained some traction. But is it the case here?

German commentator and former F1 star Hans Stuck said, “Mercedes mustn’t sacrifice Rosberg’s quality to build a car which only suits Schumi,” and in the UK Eddie Jordan has jumped on the bandwagon, saying “It would be a mistake to build a car according to Schumacher’s wishes.”

But in Spain, I attended a briefing at which Ross Brawn shot down the idea that the car had been changed to help Schumacher. He pointed out that the developments were put in production long before Schumacher struggled in the Chinese Grand Prix. In many cases they were the product of findings from winter testing,

“The developments on the car were in no way focussed towards one driver or the other, ” said Brawn. “It’s extra downforce, more range on the weight distribution better braking, all of which would help both drivers.

“There were fairly consistent comments from both drivers. And these developments were well into the system before we had the glitch of Shanghai with Michael. They take in some cases many months to do. Some of the developments were from what we saw in winter testing. They are not aligned to one driver or the other.”

Rosberg himself said that the changes were to suit both drivers, “We’ve made a significant step. Until now we found that the driving styles are similar and our comments fall into similar areas. I don’t think that there is too much difference. We suffered from too much understeer (in Spain) and it’s one of my weaknesses, I have difficulties coping with an understeer car. This weekend Michael has coped with it better than me.”

“What helps us in developing the car is that we have pretty similar requests, ” said Schumacher. “It’s a matter of time to cure our issues and keep on developing.


“Barcelona is a track that provokes understeer so it’s natural to have understeer, with the long corners. Everything you do to move away from it gives you oversteer. So you have to live with a certain amount of understeer. Although we have made modifications, it allows me to set up the car a bit more specifically to what I like and opens a window for possibilities, but it doesn’t change completely the car.”

This weekend the Mercedes will revert to the original suspension layout, which gives a wheelbase some 5 cm shorter than the Barcelona car, because of the tight nature of Monaco’s corners. The longer wheelbase car will return in Turkey.

Mercedes announced today the signing of another major sponsor, Deutsche Post, who once appeared on the Jordan. The company’s branding will appear on the chassis and front wings from this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix onwards.

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126 Comments
  1. PaulL says:

    I feel somewhat skeptical of Ross Brawn’s explanations sometimes, as if he’s hiding something. A couple of unanswered questions for me:

    - Why were Benetton late (unlike other teams) in submitting their electronic system code to the FIA for inspection in 1994?
    - If Rubens Barrichello was placed on the optimal strategy for Spain 2009, then how come apparently no other front runner also used a 3 stop strategy?

    Things like Ross also failing to acknowledge that Ferrari had made a mistake in the handling of Austria 2002, I think they place his ultimate esteem and credibility on shaky ground.

    1. Legend2 says:

      As I have commented on James Allen’s blog before in detail, Spain 2009 was a case of the team effectively giving Jenson Button the victory (which is why I find it curious that Jenson rates it as one of his best victories). The spat that Rubens had later on in the season (“the team will say this and that, and blah, blah, blah”) indicates that Rubens also did not find the explanation given to him about Spain to be plausible either. If Rubens was given the preferential treatement last year that Jenson received, then chances are he would have been the world champion – that is the difference when you have two closely matched drivers.

      In this case, I think that the changes were designed for the overall improvement of the car, and not to disadvantage Rosberg.

      1. Chris says:

        Bloody Hell, not a Jenson fan then. Jenson got the treatment towards the end of the season as he did more at the begining of the season and got himself into the best position.
        I think there is every reason to beleive they probably have changed it to suit Schumacher. Mercedes have spent allot of money to come back into Formula One and even more money having the grand plan with Schumacher as the lead driver. They are not going to let him fail.
        Rosberg is not going to say anyhting as he will be being payed allot of money for his services and he is the next generation for Mercedes when Schumacher has gone. Lets face it, he’s not going to bite the hand that feeds him and since his F1 career has started he’s been driving for a sadly middle of he road Williams Team and now finds himself in a team that has the potential to dominate the sport. I for one would keep my head down and drive. I for one am a Rosberg convert. So far this year (bar going straight on whilst leading in China) he has been stunning and has certainly raised his game.

      2. Thebe says:

        I must say , being Michael Schumacher is really hard,the man was outqualified by Nico 4 times in row and the press ,the public just loved it,Michael knew all along what his problems were with the car and of course every team comes up with updates to improve the car, so that it suits their driver .I think that most people have a problem with the fact that he might be coming to terms with his car and maybe a potential title contender maybe not this year but possibly a year from now.If the team listens to Schumacher it is purely because he has experience and maybe they genuinely believe that he represents their best chance of success in the longer term.Mercedes knows Michael,they how he works ,his attention to detail in improving an F1 car ,people forget what he achived @ Ferrari
        He went to a team that had not won titles in 20 years,he could have gone to Williams which was a dominant force @ the time,this to me shows the guys hunger for hard work.Modern Drivers want to race for teams where they are certain they will be in a competitive car.He came from retirement,he left a comfortable life to race in F1, he knew he would be criticised, he knew people would doubt him ,I dont know most people who would do what he’s doing.

      3. Liambula says:

        There we go again folks.When he was struggling in the first four races,they said he’s done.When his fortunes start turning around,they say he’s being favoured by Mercedes at the expense of his teammate. I guess when it comes to Schumi,some people just loose their cool

      4. Chris says:

        I’m not slagging Schumacher off. Far from it. I’m just saying it wouldn’t suprise me if Mercedes have changed things for him. I actually think he did well in the first four races and did all the right things that he could on the track with a car he couldn’t drive as well as he wanted.
        He’s a seven time world champion and part of what he does is get a team to work around him. You mite say that after seven world championships he’s kind of earned it.

    2. Stephen Kellett says:

      For your first and third points, in each case Ross was in charge of the race strategy, no in overall command. Such areas would have been handled by the team boss.

      For point 2, I can’t remember the details, so don’t have an opinion.

      I think you misjudge the man.

      1. PaulL says:

        Yes, but he also was the man who explained to the journos why Benetton were found with TC/LC software in their system at the British GP.

        He also took command in explaining the Austria 2002 affair.

        I think once he’d stated the team’s position, he takes on some responsibility. But that’s just my opinion.

    3. Howard Hughes says:

      Ferrari didn’t make a mistake in their handling of Austria 2002. Blame for that debacle falls squarely on the shoulders of a certain showboating, whingeing Brazilian driver who, despite having just re-signed for the team days earlier, elected to wait til the last corner on the last lap to effect his ridiculous go-slow, rather than discreetly ‘blending’ the positions as every other teams for decades managed to when fighting for a championship.

      1. GTRacer says:

        Ferrari did handle Austria 2002 very badly.

        Immediately after the race when interviewed on TV Ross Brawn made the comment “We controlled the pace all day so You can’t call that a race”.

        There was then the mess on the podium & in the press conference where they switched the drivers (Something which earned them a fine from memory).

        The other issue with it was that team orders were completely unnecisary. They had the best car on the grid, They had a big lead in the championship, It was only the 6th race of the year & Rubens was 2nd in points at that time.

        Later in the year in a close title fight team orders would have been understandable, But in only the 6th race with a dominant car & when your drivers are 1st/2nd in the championship team orders were completely unnecisary & served no purpose.

      2. Howard Hughes says:

        Strongly, nay, violently disagree.

        Brawn merely spoke the truth – Ferrari’s dominance in that race was more evident than even Red Bull’s lately. Ferrari didn’t engineer the podium swap – Schumacher’s innate embarrassment at the crowd’s reaction to Barrichello’s pathetic gesture compelled him to.

        And Ferrari were right to order the switch regardless of when in the season the race occurred. They’re fighting for WDC points from the first lap of the first race – if they’d got to the final race and lost the title by the number of points gained by the switch the team would have a) been criticised the world over and b) would have lost sponsorship value.

        So your assertion that the team tactics by race 6 were ‘completely and served no purpose’ is, frankly, ridiculous, and one you’d struggle greatly to find any team boss to agree with.

      3. Chris says:

        That’s it Howard you just sit on the fence on this one.

    4. Paul Douglas says:

      Barrichello stuffed up Spain 2009 himself. Had he put in the laptimes he needed to when running with the lighter fuel, he’d have come out ahead of Button. As it was, he actually went slower than Button at that stage, hence Jenson came out on top. No conspiracy, just not enough pace.

      1. Legend2 says:

        Go thru the blog archives and find my post about this race. Then respond to that. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few quality forums, F1 followers are easily lead by whatever the media tells them. You’re a case in point.

      2. Paul Douglas says:

        Actually, I was following the race timings live. Button was going quicker. He even chastised Rubens on the radio for not being fast enough. It was Brawn who originally explained that Rubens had simply not been fast enough, not the media. Way too many F1 fans like to assume they are more knowledgeable and have more expertise than anyone else on earth. You, sir, are a case in point.

      3. Legend2 says:

        Paul Douglas. In a previous post I explained this whole gp in good detail. In a nutshell the pitstops were JB Laps 18,48. RB Laps 19,31,50. RB was given little chance (not even Fangio could have pulled the times required). It was just luck due to SV and FM struggling on their tyres that RB finished second. Otherwise with the strategy he had he could easily have finished 6th or worse, despite leading the GP going into his first pitstop. That’s just a brief analysis. JB drove exceptionally well in Spain, however RB simply had to cover JB’s strategy for a victory. The strategy given to RB was bizarre to say the least, not a single front runner adopted it.

        Oh, and saying you watched the whole thing on live timing indicates absolutely nothing. You need to provide detailed evidence as I have done previously on this blog. The fact that Brawn told the media that Rubens was not quick enough, was the precise reason it was brought up. That Brawn does not always tell the truth.
        Sir Paul, I believe you belong on the Planet-F1 forum. Enjoy.

        Unless you are prepared to come up with a detailed analysis, you will add nothing. So unless you are prepared to do that, please do not respond.

    5. Hugo Boss says:

      Thanks PaulL. Those are BIG questions! Man, does Ross Brawn really have some explaining to do! I now seriously wonder why the F1 world in general has such great respect for him. Don’t they all realise he’s got questions to answer?

      1. PaulL says:

        Haha thanks, well I admit my articulation of the point was not my best. Maybe I could have pointed out that I simply take Ross’ explanations with a grain of salt. As such I don’t believe on the basis of the other competitors and also the particular interests of Rubens (ie if you are leading you DON’T need to be given the riskiest strategy even if we were to grant that it was technically faster) that he was given the best strategy for that race as Ross implied.
        I also don’t believe entirely his other statements and believe he would have done better not to try to justify Austria 02.

        Also, his reverence in the paddock is due to the achievments of the teams he’s been a part of. Not
        necessarily a commendation of any personal attributes.

  2. Frankie Allen says:

    Does it really matter? Mercedes are in the third tier of F1 at present with only severe attrition giving them a reasonable chance of a win. Some were quoting the advances of Mercedes at Barcelona, but in reality they were further back with the exception the leading driver was different.

    We have seen it with McLaren, Mercedes, Ferrari etc, the design of the car suits certain drivers depending upon what tyres they are running. It’s all about getting those tyres to work, otherwise you are dead in the water. What clearly has happened at Mercedes is that Schumacher who could not get his tyres to work, now could, whilst the reverse applied to Rosberg.

    Bearing in mind that all the sponsorship money rides with Schumacher, it’s only logical this way round. But as we saw with Ferrari, developing a car for Schumachers style only pays dividends normally for that individual and how out of kilter this will leave their program in the future is a moot point.

    Where this will lead Mercedes is anyone’s guess, though I can’t see Schumacher being around for more than a couple of years, not as previously competitive and unlikely to have a dominant car in that time. But they will have financial compensation that may be vital in keeping them in the sport.

    1. mvi says:

      I’m a bit skeptical that all the sponsorship money rides with Schumacher as you mention. I think most are happy with either driver doing well.

      However, Mercedes itself has a lot depending on Schumacher because of their wish to reach a different (younger!) demographic for car sales. This has been mentioned in various blogs as well as in Business Week:

      http://tinyurl.com/2ew3knz

      1. James Allen says:

        Thanks for that link

      2. Frankie Allen says:

        When Mercedes are talking about a younger demographic, where do you believe that lies? They would be more than happy for that to be in the 40′s, anywhere the big disposable income lies to buy their cars.

        It’s important for Mercedes that Schumacher is not seen as a failure to make the economics of their participation in F1 work. It’s a very bold and risky move by Mercedes, which you cannot see being offset by Rosberg and Heidfeld.

        Good luck to them and if Nico has to bite the bullet, so be it. I cannot imagine any person influencing car sales for Mercedes greater than Schumacher, it just makes so much sense all round.

      3. Stephen Kellett says:

        Totally agree with this.

        Furthermore, if they are favouring Michael at present, it doesn’t matter too much. Why?
        a) They aren’t going to the win the Championship with this car and may not even win a race either.
        b) Given (a) the emphasis may be on the short term marketing window with Michael while they develop the car for 2011/2012.

        I don’t think they are favouring Michael, but if they were, I think the above logic makes sense.

        As for Nico, his future is more long term. He is smart and possibly a star driver (jury still out on that one). He knows he can bide his time, so long as he puts in good performances and doesn’t undermine the Mercedes marketing of Michael and their supercars.

      4. jonrob says:

        Yes in that Biz week article, it says that 38% of Merc customers are over 60 instead of, over 60% of Merc customers are under 59. As a certain Irishman was fond of saying “It’s the way you tell ‘em!” (However I would guess that the average age is well over 40.)
        However Nico said last Saturday that he just could not get the setup right, they tried some things but it all went the wrong way! So what happened to the “driver sharing of information” which was guaranteed by Ross a few months back (and some of us were extremely sceptical about it being a two way thing) and why could Michale’s setup not be put on Nico’s car as a starting point? We know that Schumi likes it set up as a big go-kart but Nico could have seen how Schumi used it from his data, if it were shared.
        Having said the went the wrong way, one would assume that they put it all back to zero before quali.
        We shall see this weekend in DC’s place whether Merc have any relevance in the face of Lewis and Jense who should produce a lockout.
        Brakes could be big this weekend!

      5. john f says:

        Michael had massive setup issues in Shanghai, but did not use Rosbergs’ setup to my knowledge. They probably both had their reasons.

    2. JimmiC says:

      Actually, logically I’d place the emphasis the other way around. Rosberg is a potential future world champion. He’s young, obviously talented and driving a competitive car. Schumacher is much older, with nothing to prove in F1 after multiple championships, returning more out of boredom, who can use his vast experience to help develop the car.

      Hanging Rosberg out to dry makes no sense if he is a long-term ‘investment’.

      1. David says:

        Agree with JimmiC, though I’d add that Mercedes aren’t so much backing Schumacher as saving him from ignomy (just 10 points before Spain) at the cost of Rosberg’s championship chances (given he was – and still remains – on 50). I doubt Brawn and Mercedes expect Schumacher to overhaul Rosberg, they were far more worried the former’s return was turning into a farce. That’s what bothered them at a commercial/financial level.

        “Ross Brawn shot down the idea that the car had been changed to help Schumacher.”

        Fact is, everyone was EXPECTING the revised car to help Schumacher at Rosberg’s cost before it even hit the track, even Rosberg! – which is precisely what happened. Ross Brawn ‘rejected’ the idea, maybe, ‘shot down’ goes against the evidence of our own senses, including common sense.

  3. Mark says:

    There is also a lot of chatter that says Ferrari is developing the car around Alonso, which is why Massa hasn’t been able to perform since the 1st race (where he was strong).

    1. drums says:

      Mmm… chatting, chatting and Alonso smashing.

    2. Dan says:

      And Seb was beating Mark in all the races prior to Spain.

      And Jens was outpacing Lewis in all the races prior to Spain.

      Man, what happened to the good old days when a team had a clear number on?

      :)

  4. Paul G says:

    That Ferrari comment is BS.
    Alonso is simply a better driver than Kimi, Massa or MS (as he was in 2006) and it shows.
    Its well known Merc modified the car hugely for MS and all Ferrari have is a new duct and some work on engine reliability.

    1. Legend2 says:

      I love it how you put “(as he was in 2006)” to justify your ‘fact’ that Alonso is simply better than MS. Opinions are cool. But don’t pass opinions as facts.
      Cheers.
      L.

      1. PaulL says:

        Well isn’t it a fact that he edged out Schumi in 2006?
        I agree that’s its limited reasoning, but they were in equally matched cars throughout the season and Alonso got more points probably because he did that bit more.

      2. Legend2 says:

        Just because two drivers finish close on points does not mean they have evenly matched cars. Mika edged out Schu in 98, using your logic they were in evenly matched cars and therefore Mika “is a simply better driver than MS”.

        You sound like one of those people who carry on about how great Kimi is and how rubbish Felipe is, and point to the fact that Kimi has won a championship and Felipe has not. However, when you compare the two in equal equipment, Felipe was on balance the better driver – and hence why Kimi was sacked.

      3. Hugo Boss says:

        Thanks for admitting it is “limited reasoning” PaulL. But you are dead wrong. It is not “reasoning” of any description.

      4. PaulL says:

        Well Legend, my point is that 2006 serves as one part of a larger support basis rather than saying Alonso is simply a better driver. I don’t actually believe Alonso is a better driver. What is a better driver?you need context and I submit that Alonso marginally outperformed MS in 2006. Despite the Japan failure, Schu suffered fewer race reliability issues, had a car that appeared superior for most if the second half of the season and Alonso arguably made fewer errors on track in races. I haven’t argued in this post a detailed account, but recognize also that the finishing order in the 2006 c’ship was Renault, Ferrari, Ferrari, Renault. Yet we know from 2004 that Fisi at that time was a match for Massa in equal cars. Most people agree Alonso was the rightful champ in 2006.

    2. Han says:

      it is? even though both drivers have been complaining of the same understeer? please provide the links for it being well known that the car was only developed for MS.

    3. Carl says:

      LOL, well known to who that Merc modified the car for MS?

      The car was mondified for both drivers, in areas that would suit any driver. Rosberg even agrees to this.

      Unless you have proof you are just making it up.

    4. paul says:

      Alonso may be good but he will never be a 7 times champion and that I believe says it all. Lets wait and see how things develop over the next few races before jumping to conclusions MS will only get stronger as he finds his feet – the car will suit Rosberg just as well.

      1. UK F1 Fan says:

        MS will get stronger, that is for sure. But if you put Hamilton, Vettel, Aloson, or even Button in that Ferrari in that era, they would have been MULTI-Championships winners.

        Enough Said.

      2. WingSkill says:

        yeah, but the reason the ferrari car during that time was unbelievably fast was because of Schumi’s work ethic in perfecting the car and his amazing talent in finding the perfect balance of the car..if it weren’t for schumi’s talent and work on the car, the ferrari car wouldn’t be that fast so Hamilton, Vettel, Aloson, or even Button wouldn’t be multi-champions without schumi.

        Enough said

        P.S. as usual, some F1 fan from UK would be bashing schumi. typical.

      3. Sam says:

        @UK F1 Fan what a simple logic
        94 95 Benneton wasn’t the best car, because a driver like Damon gave him a very hard time.
        The cars in 2000, 2001, 2003 weren’t the dominant. It’s like saying Lewis won 2008 title with a dominant car which isn’t necessarily true.
        Yes he had dominant car in 2002 and 04 but name a driver who could do a better job at that season and if you can’t you have t give credit to him. It’s not like the way Jenson won the title where the better drivers were in bad cars.
        And don’t forget you create your own luck. MS joined an unsuccessful team and MADE it happen. Lewis, Alonso went after the best teams and yet no one can imagine them winning 7 world titles.
        Oh sh1t I forgot Schumacher was a German and you are a UK fan.

      4. Ahlapski says:

        @Sam,
        I am not saying he is not a good driver. He is a brilliant driver.

        German or not. If Schumi as good as you say he is; then he will have the ability to turn this season around now that he has a car that suits him.

        I am not asking him to win the Championship; but if he can finish 3rd or above, I will bow to him.

      5. Ahlapski says:

        P.S.

        Bearing in mind he is only 38 pts adrift from 3rd place.

      6. Marty Harris says:

        Enough said? I’m sure if you’d put Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso or even that Aloson chap in the Schumacher era Ferrari, they would have done better than Irvine or Barrichello.

        Schumacher’s five Ferrari titles would have been won by much narrower margins.

        And with that good a team mate to take points off Hakkinen, he would have won the 98 and 99 titles too.

      7. PaulL says:

        Relative achievements I’d say. Alonso probably won’t be a 7 times champion because he won’t have a dominant car like Schumi’s Ferrari era and he won’t have rivals of limited strength like Schumacher arguably had.

      8. WingSkill says:

        or maybe its because he is not as good as schumi in developing the car…a lot of people never realize how a drivers skill in finding the right set-up is part of being a good champion in F1 and schumi excels in that more than anything else..oh by the way, Schumi won championships when Mika, alonso, Kimi and Massa was around, I guess these are “rivals of limited strength.

      9. drums says:

        Replying to WingSkill: Oh yes, I remember Alonso growing up as F1 driver and consistently beating Schumi. Yey both are great pilots, it is pitiful that in oreder to put one up it is compulsory to denigrate the other. What an argument! The same applies IMO to any rivalry between champions. To each its own. I may prefer some above others, but I recognize that all master driving, which is one thing no one here can boast of.

      10. Ahlapski says:

        You are obviously a Schumi fan. If you say he is that good at developing and such a brilliant driver; let’s see how he fair this season now that he has a car that suits him.

        He is 38 pts adrift from the 3rd place man Vettel (60). Lets see if he can claw back this deficit and finish 3rd in the championship. With the field so competitive this season he will have a very difficult time doing it.

    5. Mas says:

      Oh look, it’s another blinded Alonso fan.

      Winning 2 championships with a car that was later labeled…illegal by the FIA.

      Ferrari is building the car around Alonso, many sources say this. And that is why Massa has this ‘problem somewhere on the car’ that Ferrari seemingly ‘can’t find’….

      1. PaulL says:

        The mass damper device was only illegal when it was declared illegal. Before that there was sufficient conjecture.

      2. fausta says:

        I guess many of this years cars are illegal since they are banning the F-Duct next year?

        Very lame thinking.

      3. Fausto Cunha says:

        I agree with Fausta. They check the cars and considered them to be legal at that time, so just because rules changes and somethings are considered illegal in a near future that doesn´t mean that they were illegal in the past.

        Next year they should allow teams to run Kers and the F-Duct if they wanted.

  5. Sharp_Saw says:

    If Schumacher gave better feedback than Rosberg during winter testing, then obviously the changes ought to suit him better.

    Since, Mercedes are planning to revert to the shorter suspension layout at Monaco, there is a chance to have a better idea of the situation regarding the their drivers.

    1. jonrob says:

      Shirely Shumi did hardly any winter testing at all.

      1. john f says:

        schumacher did the same amount of testing as rosberg if i can remember correctly. There was only about 3-4 tests of 3 days each. By the sounds of it both drivers gave similar feedback. I dislike the idea merc has developed solely for schumacher, don’t buy it to be honest. He was a fair deal slower than Rosberg back in winter tests, but has closed that gap every race, with the exception of shanghai and massive traction issues. Maybe he’s just taking some time to get back into it

  6. Sam says:

    Is it really possible to intentionally change the car that doesn’t suit one driver?

    Rosberg was equally optimistic and consistent with his comments.

  7. MacG says:

    Whatever the truth of the matter, people are going speculate endlessly about any developments Merc make.

    Maybe the changes do suit one driver more than the other: but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they were deliberately designed that way. Could just be a coincidence.

    Also, Spain was just one race. We can’t (or shouldn’t) jump to conclusions.

    One swallow doesn’t make a full pint ;-)

    1. Hugo Boss says:

      Yes, people will speculate endlessly about Merc’s developments. At least, two types of people will.

      First, you’ve got the Fleet St journalists, who know this type of rubbish will seem like a good story to people who know nothing. And then you’ve got the idiots who believe F1 teams set out to make one driver lose, rather than to build for their drivers the fastest car. There are not many people that ignorant, but sadly they’ve all got computers and internet connections.

  8. Dl says:

    Right, RB loves MS so much he is willing to risk millions of constructor standing money just to prop him up. Wonder what will happen if MS beats NR in Monaco despite the shorter wheelbase version. Seriously, there is too much conspiracy theory going around.

  9. RON says:

    MS is getting stronger… the rust is coming off…

    Rosburg, couldn’t handle a better car… MS skill gets amplified in a better designed car…

    Looking at Rosburg and Schumacher’s historical records, I would not say Rosburg is anything special… he maybe a bit better then Button, but who isn’t? And look where his luck has landed him…

    1. Tim Lamkin says:

      “”Rosburg, couldn’t handle a better car… MS skill gets amplified in a better designed car…”””

      I am shaking my head at someone typing this and actually believing what he types…amazing !!

    2. Heffalump says:

      Just to remind you: Rosberg drove a Williams for the last couple of years which might not be the very best car on the gird. And if you ask who else isn’t better than Button, here we go: Massa, Vettel, Webber, Barrichello, Hülkenburg, erm, Hülkenberg, de la Rosa, Kobayashi, Alguersuari, Buemi, Sutil, Liuzzi, Glock, di Grassi, Kubica, Petrov … well, anyone from the current field who hasn’t been World Champion because that’s about the only reliable measure indicating how good a driver really is.

      1. Legend2 says:

        Oh, so that means Stirling Moss was not a good driver. Great logic.

      2. Bog says:

        I’d argue this point; it’s not only the driver.. it’s the car too. See LH last year at the start of the season.

      3. Aussie F1 Fan says:

        Oh dear, you really believe that?

      4. Drez says:

        On your own their. Button maybe a WDC and congratz to him but he CERTAINLY had the car under him.

      5. RJG says:

        Most world champions had the car under them though, didn’t they?

      6. jeremy says:

        i think its hysterical that you even begin to rate rookies against button, i mean seriously. how many years has button driven in f1? how many years has he utterly sucked, or wait, did he have a horrible car all thoes years? i certainly dont find it fair that you rate him vs petrov, di grassi, hulkenberg, kobayashi, alguersuari, Buemi, like really?? and then you even state hes better the kubica.

        look at the machinery he had,
        09 button had a dominant car in the fist half the season, thats when he won the world championship. nevermind the second half. he almost entirely blew it.

        put any of the drivers you mentioned about minus kubica and i think you might be correct in saying button is better, but only because he has the f1 experience. give any of the guys listed 5 or 6 years experience in f1 then hand them the 2009 brawn car for the first half of 09 and i suspect you’ll see similar results.

        except kubica. he wins more races then button in ’09.

  10. David Jerromes says:

    I think this is all about chasing sensationalist headlines.
    So far Rosberg has out-driven Schumi in every quali and race this season.
    Schumi beats Rosberg (as most had predicted..) and everyone jumps on the conspiratorial bandwagon.

    Please, let’s wait a little longer to see if Spain was just an anomaly or the start of something more along the lines this article is suggesting

  11. Eric Weinraub says:

    How sad it is when commentators and fans alike can’t just enjoy the racing without all of this conspiracy BS. Car development takes weeks if not months so any changes, such as the radical air intake, have been in the pipeline for quite some time. Alonso better than Schuey, you are joking right? Schuey doesn’t get unfairly penalised in Monaco, doesn’t blow an engine in Japan, and not get taken out by Fisi in Brazil and you’d all be whistling a different tune. PLEASE go back and look at the lap times from Brazil ’06 and you would realize that had Michael not had to make that tire stop for a puncture he would have lapped the entire field in DRY conditions. So, while Alonso is a great driver he is NOT better than Schuey. Next!!!

    1. drums says:

      “Schuey doesn’t get unfairly penalised in Monaco, doesn’t blow an engine in Japan, and not get taken out by Fisi in Brazil.” Too many assumptions, too many ‘ifs’. Next!

    2. Bill Day says:

      Except for the small detail that in ’06, Schumacher lost and Alonso won.

      1. Eric Weinraub says:

        …so if victories are what we measure… Alonso isn’t even in the top 10 …

      2. Aussie F1 Fan says:

        Wow an engine blew up and cost Schu the title, gee that’s showing Alonso’s raw talent there isn’t it? (note EXTREME SARCASM INTENDED)

        Lets just stop arguing who is better, they are both great competitors & drivers. Everyone happy now?

      3. PaulL says:

        Alonso lost a win in Hungary and a podium in Monza. Slam dunk.

  12. tobi-wan says:

    So the answer is no then.

  13. Guru F1 says:

    Rosberg is for the long haul and he knows it. If Shumacher’s inputs are getting him better results then its a good short term strategy by Mercedes. The world wants to see its heros winning! TO bring its current car near Red bull this year and next, Mercedes needs all the inputs from a seven time world champion.
    Mercedes + Schumacher can equal Ferrari’s super car’s brand image.

    1. jack Strawb says:

      “the world wants to see its heros winning!”

      You don’t seem to grasp that Schumacher is not
      “the world’s hero”.

      He certainly not my hero. He’s a driver who
      won using dirty underhanded tactics when it suited him. I have respect for Schumacher’s driving skill, but only contempt for his character. And character, old son, is more important than trophies or money. At least it is if you are a man.

      1. WingSkill says:

        He may not be your hero but he certainly is to a lot of other people, I’m guessing more in fact than any other driver on the grid right now. And while we are on the topic of character how about this, Schumi may have made some questionable actions on track before but do you actually know the guy…how can you judge what he really is like if you dont personally know him..let me ask you something, is tiger woods your hero? he NEVER cheated during any golf tournament but we all know thats not a measure of his character isn’t it…by all accounts, it looks like schumi is a decent fellow outside the track, he is quite protective of his family and tries to protect them from all the attention but thats just my opinion since I dont personally know him. so dont just judge his character based on some decisions he made before with split seconds to think driving a car at 300KMH.

      2. F1 Judge says:

        The more I read your comments the more I sense you are very bias towards MS…. BIAS, BIAS, and BIAS …

      3. Hugo Boss says:

        You are right Jack Strawb, character is more important than trophies and money. But we can safely assume you know nothing whatsoever about Michael Schumacher’s character. Is he a kind and encouraging father? A dependable husband? A considerate neighbour? We know he gave $10 million to the 2006 Asian tsunami victims but he keeps his private life private. If you are the sort of person Jack who denigrates people you don’t know, it doesn’t speak highly of YOUR character.

  14. Michael C says:

    I am so fed up with this ‘one bad race and your rubbish’ rubbish (for both Michael and Nico – and Felipe)- if the car has been changed and you dont get a chance to test any more then you presumably NEED TIME to adapt – Kimi Fernando Ayrton and Michael did not take the world by storm consistently in the first year of racing (or did they?) despite many perhaps thinking otherwise.

    its nice to see the written off old man have a better race – now come back at him Nico (always assuming you are allowed to!)

    1. Legend2 says:

      Fernando scored no points for Minardi in 2001, but consistently but in some brilliant drives, showing excellent potential – Mark Webber did the same in 2002 but also managed to get a 5th place on his debut.
      Michael took the world by storm in his first qualifying effort in a Jordan, and was then immediately snapped up by Benetton, and there outshone triple champ Nelson Piquet no less.
      Lewis also took the world by storm in his first season, matching and generally being faster than Fernando.
      Kimi, on the otherhand did not do so well in his first season. He was generally slower than Nick Heidfeld in the Sauber. McLaren decided to take him on to Heidfeld’s disappointment.

  15. Michael Brown says:

    It’s incredible that this conspiracy theory that Mercedes have somehow made the car more suitable to Schumacher’s style at Rosberg’s expense is even considered remotely possible. The depth of people’s irrational hatred of Schumacher is quite astonishing.

    But in today’s Monaco press conference Rosberg has thankfully set the record straight:

    Q. Do you have any worries that perhaps the upgrades to your car don’t suit your style? And could there be a chance that perhaps you don’t keep them on the car so you can keep the feeling you had at the start of the year?

    NR: No, definitely not. We drive exactly the same way me and Michael, so it is not that you can build something that suits him better than me. The only fact is that I really struggle with understeer, which we have in the car at the moment. But we are looking into that to try to improve it because for sure it is not a good thing for Michael either. It is a bad thing for both of us, and that could be the only thing where I might struggle a bit more in the end.

    So please can we put this ridiculous conspiracy theory to bed once and for all?

  16. James Bono says:

    Right…I hate this…Why does everyone hold something against Schu? Even if Mercedes had “hurt” Rosberg to help Schu, what is wrong with that? He is a 7 time WDC…does he not deserve it?
    Anyway this is completely untrue, go on the following link and you’ll know what im talking about. Rosberg made a disasterous decision on set-up, which was the main cause for his lack of pace AND because Shumi found his “sparkle”!
    Mercedes REALLY needs to push on development!
    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/83555

    1. PaulL says:

      As to whether it’s fair is debatable, but if it were to occur it would be in contradiction to Ross Brawn’s stated philosophy about how the team operates when he was at Ferrari and explaining to the media that when a driver established himself as the leading contender they would back that man.

    2. pedro says:

      There are probably because of the way he won/crashed on Damon Hill in 1994 with a car that Ayrton Senna felt was not within the rules of not having traction control. He tried to “win” his third championship by crashing into Villeneuve’s Williams-Renault. The “win” in Austria with a little help from Barrichello/Ross Brawn/Jean Todt didn’t help for those who criticize Schumacher. Schumacher’s gift to Barrichello in the American Grand Prix didn’t help his PR. “Creative Qualification Technique” in the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix was another example. Never having an incredible team mate such as a Mika Hakkinene or a Raikkonen might be another issue. It is 2010 and Ross Brawn makes a Schumi-Benz…. Anything else?

    3. zadrav says:

      If both MS and NR have the same driving stile and share information, how is possible that Nico “…made a disastrous decision on set-up..”?

      Come on, all this was predicable – Mercedes cannot afford to their big project, getting Schumacher back on the race track, end up stacked behind (not to say humiliated) his team-mate…

  17. Ali Unal says:

    From today’s Q/A by Rosberg:

    Q. Do you have any worries that perhaps the upgrades to your car don’t suit your style? And could there be a chance that perhaps you don’t keep them on the car so you can keep the feeling you had at the start of the year?

    NR: No, definitely not. We drive exactly the same way me and Michael, so it is not that you can build something that suits him better than me. The only fact is that I really struggle with understeer, which we have in the car at the moment. But we are looking into that to try to improve it because for sure it is not a good thing for Michael either. It is a bad thing for both of us, and that could be the only thing where I might struggle a bit more in the end.

    1. PaulL says:

      Nothing more than a straight bat answer to the media like you’d expect.

      1. Ali Unal says:

        Yeah, I should have quoted bloggers, forum posters and post commentors instead. My bad.

      2. Hugo Boss says:

        1. Think up a stupid scenario.
        2. Ask the person at the centre about it.
        3. If his answer contradicts your stupid scenario, assume he’s lying and giving “nothing more than a straight bat answer to the media”.

  18. zxzxz says:

    rosberg was only like a tenth behind schumacher in qualifying.

    his poor race had little to do with the changes to the car.

  19. bones says:

    I think is clear that Mercedez will do whatever they can to keep MS happy,that means being fast than Rosberg,but we can say A or B and does not matter because we don’t talk to any of these ppl off the record,BUT YOU DO THAT James,so my question is:what do you think is the truth here?

  20. Stuart Fenton says:

    Merc are clearly leaning towards Mikey S. For marketing reasons he is huge, but the reasons why are in the past. They can’t honestly think he will win another championship? Maybe races, but not championships. They should be very careful of how they treat Nico. He’s German, good looking, a nice bloke and a great driver. It would be very short sighted to neglect him because of some old fart. Maybe with nurturing, Nico could be the next Michael?

    1. Martin P says:

      Of course they lean towards Michael Schumacher for marketing reasons, because he is indeed a huge brand in marketing terms. It’s completely irrelevant that the reasons for that are his past reputation and achievements. His marketing potential is a reality and they’re a business – so of course they’ll use it.

      As for neglecting Nico….. he’s got a race seat in the Mercedes works team alongside a multiple world champion. I suspect there are a lot of other none race winning drivers who’d love to suffer the same level of neglect.

      But people love a conspiracy to gossip about I guess.

    2. BeenDun says:

      You can’t be serious? Merc GP should be careful with Nico because he’s good looking and German? Lol.

    3. malcolm.strachan says:

      I agree with your last sentence. Perhaps that is the plan at the moment; bring in Schumacher – the most accomplished F1 driver in history – to help nurture the young talent into another highly successful driver. They seem to get along well, so it makes sense…

    4. Aussie F1 Fan says:

      Off topic I know but Rosberg good looking? My GF thinks he is disgusting! (To quote her exact words: Good from far, but far from good!).

      Jamie Alguseri (wrong spelling, I know) on the other hand, well lets just say she is a big fan! :-)

    5. BiggusJimmus says:

      “Some old fart.” Lol.

    6. Stuart Fenton says:

      “They should be very careful of how they treat Nico. He’s German, good looking, a nice bloke and a great driver” I meant that these are very marketable attributes and should be careful to neglect them!

    7. WingSkill says:

      Maybe, but i think vettel and hulkenberg has more potential than nico…and i think merc thinks so too…the rumor is they are trying to poach vettel to come over to merc once schumi leaves..

      1. Stuart Fenton says:

        I feel most sorry for Heidfeld! He’s a bloody capable driver and all he seems to be doing is touching up his beard and wearing the merc f1 kagool

  21. Fausto Cunha says:

    Let´s a wait a couple of grand prix, maybe Nico this week at Barcelona wasn´t on top of the car´s setup.

    Even Michael was a long way of the RBR, Mclaren and Ferrari specially on the harder tyre.

    For exemple Vettel was a litle bit short to Mark Webber´s pace this weekend.

    1. PaulL says:

      I agree, one race is a small sample size. Monaco is a completely different layout to Barcelona too.

  22. Gantsta says:

    The biggest problem with this issue is that if Michael continues to find his feet and turn in better results (as most people expect he will), the flames of this conspiracy will continue to be fuelled.

  23. JohnBt says:

    OF COURSE! WITHOUT A DOUBT! Big Mistake.

  24. Jonathan Schutte says:

    Conspiracy theories abound in all aspects of humankind – some people are still, 50 years after the fact, debating about the existence of another shooter on the grassy knoll in the JFK assassination.

    In the end, everyone will have an opinion and conspiracy theories will always exist. But I’m sure we can all agree that, as a whole, the picture of the 2010 F1 season is looking really good at the moment. And, in my opinion, these little tussles in the background amongst teammates viaing for superiority in their team, only adds to the excitement and enjoyment.

    Go F1!

  25. BiggusJimmus says:

    Clearly the conspiracy theories are mistaken; it would only make sense to use Schumacher’s time at Mercedes to build brand as well as a racing car for the future. Who is better placed to help Mercedes enter F1 at the front? Is there anybody else alive who would be better at getting the car happening, and from the driver’s seat?
    If he doesn’t win championships then so be it, but his influence upon the team will in time prove to be pivotal.

  26. Vik says:

    Ross Brawn is a national treasure, a rare one at that. Dick Branson thought he could find another gifted engineer and leader in Nick Wirth. Well, it seems the wheels have fallen off that particular assumption. As for Merc favouring MS, I think times have changed and I think Michael S. has changed. He doesn’t lord it up in the paddock, he doesn’t make excuses for his results. In fact, he behaves like a bit of a statesman. He’s not 21 anymore. I think the cat stroking Bond villain machinations of the past are behind him. Also, as has been previously written, in the past cars were constantly tested and refined throughout the season, by drivers themselves. This allowed them to seamlessly develop the car to their driving style. Testing regulations now prohibit that approach. Developments now appear to be something more akin to a series of calculated risks – only some of which work.

  27. Spyros says:

    Wow… the man retired, sat out three seasons, and when he comes back, the conspiracy theories are waiting to greet him at the gate…

    I suppose that if he uses his elbow to ‘polish’ his car’s nose cone before the race, some people will say that he is illegally improving his car’s aerodynamics…

  28. Mike400 says:

    James – completely unrelated BUT any word on F1 being broadcast in HD? the last I heard was it *might* happen in 2011?

    1. Ahlapski says:

      No point asking James; you have to ask Bernie …

  29. Kenny says:

    I think all this booha about Mercedes “favouring” Schumacher and disadvantaging Rosberg because of Schumacher being the former 7 time world champion and so on and so forth is ridiculous. It was clear in the previous races that the Mercedes had difficulties in turning into a corner. It just looked so ponderous and sluggish to get towards the apex.
    Add in the race fuel then it just gets even worse.
    In addition, we heard that actually Rosberg and Jock Clear saying they tried a different set up approach on the car which obviously didn’t work, whilst Schumacher stuck to a more normal set up. Hence why Rosberg struggled so much.
    Now this doesn’t mean of course Rosberg was wrong or Schumacher was right to do what they did with the set up approach because it could have worked either way.

    1. At this stage of the season and with the car so clearly off the pace, do you think any team principal would be concerned with any bias towards any particular driver? Or would he be desperate to improve the car at any price for anyone who could make it look half-way decent on Sunday?

      Get a grip, this is about business and sponsors – and not a little pride. It’s not about advantaging one driver to finish 6th, or maybe 4th if they are lucky. It’s about trying to get either driver somewhere near the front to justify the money spent to the people in the boardroom on Monday. If, by some miracle, something was found that allowed the test driver to find 2 seconds, he’d be in the car on race day!

  30. chris green says:

    I’m not convinced that Mercedes GP can be described as a leading team. The situation is much different than it was at Brawn 12 months ago. Riding on the back of Hondas exit Brawn inherited a pretty decent structure. That’s no longer the case.
    For example Mercedes have obviously gone down a developmental dead end with their new car. Fundamentally something is amiss and they seem to be floundering despite Rosberg’s good early start to the season.
    All the major teams like Ferrari RB and Mac have come up with good designs.
    I think the team is also hurting because Ross Brawn’s expertise in pit strategy is not as big an influence this tear.
    As for driver’s telling the truth. Most F1 people can be economical with the truth For example. Rosberg said “We’ve made a significant step.” Yeah well I didn’t see it.
    Now we are back in Europe the big teams are flexing their muscles and in Spain teams like Mercedes and Williams were found wanting.

  31. Michael says:

    Mercedes needs the name Schumacher! It is a brand in itself and if anyone knows anything about marketing… it costs a lot of money to build such a brand.

    So if push came to shove… do you think Mercedes would not put more effort into pleasing Schumacher? If he is beat at every race by Rosberg do you think he would hand around in year 2 and 3 of his contract??? come on.

    I’m sure they want both drivers to be successful but they can’t let Schumacher get schooled by Rosberg… or else they risk losing the brand!

  32. Henry says:

    When the man is finishing around 10th place British media is saying he will quit because he sucks, when the man is finishing close to the podium its a conspiracy …….Whats next ?

    I´m not a fan of MS but give the man some credit thanks to him F1 is once again popular all over the world . And I also would like to add that next year he will be a title contender . And I would like to say that mr.Button is the most overrated driver ever and I will eat my socks if the man ever wins another title….Last race a man with a slower car showed him how a car has to be driven ….

  33. F1 Kitteh says:

    A change back to the short wheelbase car for today, and Rosberg is faster again must confirm that the conspiracy theory is true beyond any doubt !! Right ??

    Except the skeptics are forgetting the fact that if indeed Rosberg likes the short wheelbase better he could easily just run that instead of the long one, like today. The fact that he didn’t, probably means he believes the new one is an improvement.

  34. Luke says:

    It’s quite incredible how some people jump to the conclusion that it’s a conspiracy against Rosberg when he is beaten by a 7 times world champion in 1/5th of races.

    Only beating Michael Schumacher 80% of the time… poor kid.

    *rolls eyes*

  35. Stefanos says:

    James, does each team have to run the same car for both drivers? Obviously there are differences in set up, but is wheel base a set up? I cannot imagine why Rosberg would opt to run a more front-biased weight distribution on this year’s narrower tires and from what he says, neither does he (other than in Monaco). But, can he?

  36. Mattikake says:

    re: Brawn, Schumi and Rosberg in denial about the Merc now favouring Schumi – all I can say is that there’s PR speak and there’s the truth. The performances of the two drivers will tell the real story.

    And on that point, Rosberg struggled in Spain to find a balance in the car he liked, with diametricly opposed ballast changes through the weekend. This is not behaviour of a driver who is happy with the updates… Also isn’t it funny how when they return the car to the short whleebase, for Monaco, Rosberg is again faster at the end of the two practice sessions… ;)

    As I say, there’s what the drivers and teams say, and then there’s the proof of the pudding.

    1. WingSkill says:

      actually schumi was faster than rosberg on practice one but yeah rosberg was faster on practice 2 by only 0.13…looks like its quite close now.

    2. Hugo Boss says:

      If you’re going to accuse the entire MercGP frontline of indulging in an orchestrated litany of lies, you’d better have better “proof of the pudding” than some distant and not particularly insightful observations.

  37. Prof Bolshaviks says:

    It sounds like to me that Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel ( i think they all got a mention) beat their teammates by being faster.
    Rosberg beats Schumacher by being faster. Everyone was happy with this.
    Schumacher beats rosberg and suddenly it is favouratism?
    If the short car suits nico better, why was an article not written questioning the favouratism if Ross towards nico at michael’s expense? Because we had people instead saying michael was past it!
    I get seriously worried when, “fans” cannot imagine that a 7 times world champion can beat a team mate fairly on pace, once in a while.
    I honestly think that if you were a racing driver who spent race after race being crushed by micheal it may upset you a little bit. People then write you are disadvantaged and BANG! We now have an excuse. Rubens was number 1b at Ferrari, his words not mine. Irvine was number 2, massa never specified, he got on with his job.
    Rubens spat his dummy and got his backside kicked by jenson! Did Ross favour jenson? Rubens again thinks so.
    Pathetic, the whole story is utterly pathetic.
    Someone in a team has to be infront at the end of a race, usually the faster driver.
    There is no conspiracy here, just watch the races or don’t. But deal with your small mindedness, it will ruin your life.

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