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Schumacher and Rosberg echo Fangio and Moss at Mercedes
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Schumacher and Rosberg echo Fangio and Moss at Mercedes
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Jan 2010   |  1:10 pm GMT  |  79 comments

Mercedes Grand Prix is up and running, the third time in the company’s history that it has had its own team at the highest level of the sport.

Picture 24
At a ceremony today in Stuttgart the all German driver line up of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg was unveiled along with the distinctive colour scheme.

The legendary Silver Arrows were a powerful force in Grand Prix racing before the war and then dominated it when they returned in the mid 1950s. They won everything because their investment was huge and the technology was superior to the opposition and in Juan Manuel Fangio they had the best driver available, with Stirling Moss as his young understudy.

Fangio was 42 when he started with Mercedes in F1 and Moss was 25. The echoes are uncanny; going into this season Schumacher is 41 and Rosberg is 24.

Moss was happy to follow in the master’s wheel tracks in 1955, whereas Rosberg has his own agenda, having signed up before Schumacher’s name was connected to the team. The situation will need managing carefully. It is up to Ross Brawn and his team to ensure that things run smoothly and that their technology allows them to dominate the sport as their predecessors did, but it will not be easy. The Resource Restriction Agreement now controls F1 spending, so it is all about efficiency, rather than an arms race now.

The car revealed today was last year’s championship winning Brawn car repainted in Mercedes colours, showing the level that the team is coming in at and the expectations which inevitably follow. The new car will be called the W01 – in the same tradition as the great cars of the past like the W125 and the W196. The W stands simply for “Wagen”, meaning “car”.

What is striking and unusual about this event is that the sport now has another established front running team. Brawn, in its previous guises as Honda and BAR never established itself as a top team, but Mercedes’ intervention coupled with Brawn’s success puts this team on a level with Ferrari and McLaren. With Mercedes’ proud heritage in the sport it is a powerful combination.

Ross Brawn is the architect for all of this, having taken the plunge almost a year ago and saved the team after Honda pulled out. Mercedes have both rewarded him handsomely for his initiative and invested their trust in him. He no longer has the stress of having his name above the door and the responsibility of paying the bills each month, which is a big relief to him, but he has a lot of pressure to deliver, as he had at Ferrari. He was overjoyed by the way things have worked out,

“It is a great thing, working with Michael again is a very special treat and something I didn’t think would happen again, ” he said. “It’s so exciting and so motivational for me and the team to be involved. Nico is a very exciting prospect who will make a wonderful partner for Michael. Nico has been in a racing for a number of years but he will enjoy working with Michael and seeing how a seven-time champion operates.”

Schumacher’s return is an extraordinary development for the sport, “For sure for me it is very, very special, a dream come true to be able to drive the first silver arrow for more than 50 years. It is a great emotion and it is a great feeling that I am getting from the outside, so a big compliment to all fans that see it like this,” he said. “It gives me a greater feel and a greater push. We have a very exciting combination here. We have a world champion team in every sense of the word, and I cannot wait to get into the car for the first time in Valencia. I am convinced the team will be in a very good position to fight for the championships this season and I will definitely give it a go.”

The team is backed by Petronas, the Malaysian oil company in a deal worth €30 million per season. There has not been any mention yet of Nick Heidfeld as test and reserve driver, despite reports over the weekend that he had agreed a deal.

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1

Rosberg is no Moss.

2

It’s starting to sound like the now defuncted World Cup of Motorsport aka A1GP,

Team Germany (Mercedes) v Great Briton (McLaren) v Force India v U.S.G.P.E. v Team Jose! sorry meant Latin (Ferrari!)Hi Jose!

3

I think it’s amusing that people suggest that it’s UK vs Germany , in terms of team Mclaren vs team Mercedes. Of course the Mercedes team is based in England and the engines are made there too, from what I gather.

4

Painting the prior years’ car for a launch always feels like a joke to me. I understand the business considerations…and yes it is mere pennies for an F1 teams budget, but still seems like a waste of money.

5

The car looks fantastic, can’t wait to see it on the track, it’s good that its different to the Mclaren

looking forward to seeing all the other car launches this week

Roll on racing in 2010!

6

Hi James,

I was interested to see Martin Whitmarsh in the crowd at the launch. Do you knoe if he attending as just another guest or as the new FOTA Chairman?

BTW, I see the Mercedes marketing machine is already full swing….in Ferrari red no less!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_sXDFOLm_4

7

Born on June 24th, 1911, Fangio was 43 by the time of the 1954 French GP on July 4th.

8

Mercedes, Brown, Schumacher & Rosberg. Great team, it will work out for them & Schumacher will be the champion.

9

I’m not sure that the comparison between Fangio and Schumacher is strictly legit. There were a lot of special circumstances around that time.

I seem to remember that there had been a bit of a spat between Germany and just about everyone else. Britain was broke: indeed there was still rationing on certain items in 1954 (I think. If wrong I feel sure someone will tell me.) and limits on the use of steel.

Good as Fangio undoubtedly was, he did not have to fight off competition from many young hopefuls. Not so much the quick and the dead as the quick were dead.

Further, I always thought Moss was more of a sports car driver slumming it in F1. The current situation of F1 being unchallenged as the premier series was not always the case. I remember the BOAC 500 being billed as the biggest car race in Britain one year. Around 1954 they could not even run an F1 series and were forced to promote (in more way than one) F2.

Moss’ exploits in sports cars were what made him the darling of those around me: mostly schoolboys fair enough but many adults who saw themselves as motor racing enthusiasts saw open-wheeled formula as much as a supply for sports cars as F1.

F1 has changed in the ensuing years. In comparison it is a sprint. The g-forces are tremendous and I can’t help thinking that someone with a weakness in the neck might well have problems. You can generate more g-force in a sports care nowadays than Fangio ever had to put up with.

The point you make, James, about the deference shown to Fangio by Moss being unlikely in the Schumacher/Rosberg situation is spot on. This will be war. 1954 will be a walk in the park in comparison.

10

Rosberg will be another Moss if he is out-qualified by his team mate in every F1 race. I hope he has the speed to prevent his from happening.

11

What time zone is this site in? My comment is an hour ahead of me?? (uk)

12

Don’t forget who helped in Ross coming to Brackley, Nick Fry seems to always be forgotten. He should get some credit?

13

Schumacher – Rosberg – Ross Brawn is a lethal combination for everybody else.

If really MS is still at the top of his game and Mercedes has designed an half decent car, Mercedes will win the Championship by the time we will race in Monza.

Rosberg will finish races in the top 4 everyrace with a good car and Schumacher, if still on top form, will battle for victories.

Brawn has demonstrated in the last 10-15 years to be the man to beat in F1, it took Ferrari to another level, it took Honda to win races and both Championship.

In my opinion if he thinks that Schumacher is good means that MS is still capable to deliver what we saw until few years ago.

I think only LH will be able to battle with him if the McLaren will be good enough.

These two drivers have the capability to gain few tenths out of the cars.

Alonso I think he will suffer because Ferrari has lost his Capitano, Ross Brawn and, so far, Domenicali and the rest of the crew hasn’t been able to follow the Master

14

James,

how do you rate Nico’s chances? over the years sometimes we hear mixed reviews on Nicos performance how do you see him? i personally think he is good driver but unsure if he can put a whole season together like michael can.

Thoughts?

15

I think it will be a head game for him. If he can just do his thing and get the most from the car he’ll do well. If he spends time and mental energy worrying about what Schmacher is doing he won’t. Also if the team gives Schumacher an advantage during a race, for tactical reasons, Nico is the kind of driver who will say something..

16

Please note that at the Merc launch today their car shown to the public had the number three on it. Many ask if Nico will get equal treatment.

…,,,, Are you serious, not a chance.

Rosberg is in a no win situation. Beat Schumacher, it will be because Shuey is over the hill. Lose to Michael and his career could wind up dead. It’s Mercedes or bust for Nico, it will be bust!!!

Michael does not leave the comfort of Ferrari to join the man (Braun) that made him in Formula 1. He would not tarnish his carear for a bit of fun. Age has nothing to so with it in regards to driving. NASCAR races are full of old drivers and I get fed up of the media talking about G forces. It’s nothing light flying a jet in a presure suit.

Either way poor young Rosberg may win a race or two. But his career will not end up with championships, he will become another Eddie Irvine, making up the numbers and a good supporting cast. However I must be honest, we all would have liked to be Eddie Irvine driving for Ferrari. So do we feel bad for Nico and co, absolutely nit!

17

… well, it has a number “three” on the front and number “four” at the back 🙂

18

Isn’t the team a bit light on sponsors? Okay we all know about the aborted Henkel deal, but these are the World Champions! Is the economic climate really making it this tough to find new deals? if so what chance to the new teams have?

Bringing Petronas on board at €30 million a year is hardly going to make the team self funding as was the orginal intention.

And is Schumacher really planning to keep his red helmet? surely he’ll revert to his old less Ferrari focused design?

James will you be attending the Mclaren launch on Friday?

19

I think now he drives a german machine the “Red Baron” ace pilot will keep his red helmet…

20

I will be there, yes.

21

What about Ferrari’s launch on Thursday James. Thats a must see!

22

I would never underestimate Ross Brawn but I am worried that what if they go Renault way back in 2007.

They had Pat Symond who was a technical genius too.

23

James,

Just received the prize [mod] copy of your book this morning… thanks again! Looks great, will stop the one I started to read yours as soon as tonight!!

24

The difference here between the Fangio / Moss comparison is that Rosberg has not quite shown the prodigious skill that Moss showed. Yet. Also, (not sure whether this was at the same stage in their relationship) Moss beat Fangio in sports cars.

Please correct me if I’m wrong.

25

Agree with James, Moss was the “future”, the young promising next great driver. At that time, Moss, Collins, Hawthorn and the others were also fully respectfull about Fangio, they were true knights about the “old master”. Just remember Collins stopping in the stands, jumping out of his Ferrari, giving it to his argentinean teammate, so giving up his own last Word Championship chances… just and only to allow Fangio win the ’56 title at the last race. If the rules would allow it who would do it today??

Don’t think at all today’s drivers will look at Schumacher the same way…

26

Moss hadn’t done that much by 1954. Rosberg has been around a few years now

27

James, sorry if this is a bit too pedantic but Fangio’s team mates in 1954 were Karl Kling and Hans Hermannn, Moss didn’t join Mercedes until 1955.

28

You are right, but I didn’t say Moss joined Merc in 1954, only that they raced together. Thanks for the heads up – I’ve made it clearer now.

29

There is no comparison if one knows the story of

all involved. Fangio was a gentleman, Schumacher is

obviously a winner but hardly a gentleman. There ARE some of us who still care about that sort of thing, even if

you and some of your readership don’t, James.

And the idea that Rosberg could be compared to Moss

is patently absurd. Rosberg wouldn’t even be where he

is without his famous father. I’d like to see Rosberg

drive the Mille Miglia course as Moss did in 1955 —

Rosberg is simply not of the same caliber as Moss, which

the next few years will prove in a way which removes all

doubt.

30

Agreed. Sir HM III of R & T would as well I imagine.

31

Henry, you obviously missed the point of the article.

Nobody was making connections between the character of Fangio/Schumacher (although many people would be surprised that beneath the hard exterior, Schumacher is a very caring person who has donated many millions of dollars to charities, and I know that he made a particularly large donation for the victims of the boxing day tsunami in asia a few years ago).

Anyway, James was making a point of referencing the “Master and Apprentice” scenario and the fact that there was a young “up-and-coming” charger paired with the most dominant and successful driver of that era. As far as the ages of the drivers is concerned, the similarities are rather strong.

If Nico has the sense to use the next two years as a fantastic opportunity to learn from the greatest driver of all time, then it will make him a far better and more consistent driver, you only have to look at the immense improvement of Massa’s driving (think back to the way he drove when at Sauber Vs now) to see how much a driver can learn and improve by being open to learning from Schumacher.

32

James,

You’re awesome.

All the F1 news websites publish the stories before you and I already knew the details of the launch, but I always visit your site because I know you’ll have some extra input. Comparing Schumacher and Rosberg to Fangio and Moss, genius.

This is why I’ll always come to your site, not just for the news, but for your input.

Thanks!!!

33

The new Mercedes car looks great. The front wing does it for me. I’m predicting a battle between Massa and Schumacher for the 2010 title. Look forward to seeing the other launch dates.

34

It’s not a new car, it’s last year’s Brawn repainted. New car is due for Valencia test

35

I did think the rest of the body work looked like last years car but I saw the front wing first and thought ‘Wow this looks good’

Thanks for that James. Look forward to the launch.

36

It is last year’s car. New one comes out next week at the test in Valencia

37

Purists might consider this a wee bit naughty. After all the car isn’t a Merc at all, but a Brawn.

38

Seems like Nick could be on to a good thing if he signs as No 3 driver at Merc. In Scenario 1, Schumi might find that he no longer has the respect of the other drivers and might get fed up with being driven off the road by the young guns, who are going to be all gunning for him. In Scenario 2, Rosberg might get blown away by the old boy and decide that he is better off leaving ‘Schumi’s team’ at the end of the season (if not earlier?!?) if that is what it becomes after a couple of races. Either way, I think Nick easily has the potential to ‘do a Jenson’ and win consistently in the car if given the opportunity.

39

I really like the livery – it is very minimal (especially the overalls), from other photos it has a pearlescent finish which will help it stand out from the other cars.

Looking forward to the rest of the launches this week and then onto testing!

40

So when Merc win their first grand prix this season it will be the first time in F1 where only the German anthem is played on the podium ceremony.

It might be time for them to start singing the first stanza again.

Although my money is on Alonso or Vettel.

41

Interesting how Schumacher describes how he will “drive the first silver arrow”. Only a small language nuance, but it definitely sounds like a ‘one up’ to me.

42

I thought “Now that is a serious looking racing car!” There are lots of other pictures on line

http://www.planet-f1.com/0,15897,,00.html

Then I realized it’s a repainted ’09 which looked like a toy in it’s old livery in comparison. It’s amazing what a decent graphics package can do.

43

I hope the Mercedes buyout has not simply meant spending money on a paint job!

Personally I loved the Brawn livery and the way so many disliked it.

It worked on so many levels – Brawn had far more important things to do than design a paint job. The car was instantly recognisable and spoken about. They kept their money and effort focused on the track – where the results proved they did the right thing. What more could a sponsor want? … and what better way to attract Mercedes.

One could almost have called it a shining example of German efficiency! … all puns intended.

44

I wonder whether we’ll get a Special Edition from Minichamps based on their BGP001 model?

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