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French Grand Prix
Schumacher crashes, Rosberg takes grid penalty on day 1 in Germany
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Jul 2012   |  5:18 pm GMT  |  23 comments

Michael Schumacher brought out the red flag to end a wet day’s running in Germany, the seven times world champion losing control of his Mercedes towards the end of FP2 and crashing his car.

It was another frustrating day for the teams, like Friday at Silverstone, with weather again the dominant story.

Meanwhile Schumacher’s team mate Nico Rosberg joins Romain Grosjean in taking a five place grid penalty due to a forced gearbox change. Rosberg set the second fastest time in FP2 today before the suspected problem was confirmed.

A bashful Schumacher said afterwards, “The way I ended the second session was obviously not part of the plan and I’m sorry that my mistake has given my guys even more work to do this evening,” he said. “I simply slid off track because I lost a little concentration: we were talking on the radio and I was altering some settings at the same time. But that’s all part of the game.

“Overall, the session went ok, even though we didn’t do too much running in the first session because the conditions were a bit too inconsistent. I think that qualifying will probably be wet tomorrow, so today’s weather was useful in that respect. Now we need to do more work on the computer to tease out the insights we weren’t able to get from our track running.”

Lotus have a new device on the rear wing which has tongues wagging; an apparent double DRS system, albeit not one that replicates the drag reduction feature on the Mercedes front wing. My BBC colleague, technical expert Gary Anderson, has speculated that the air intake for the system is on the airbox and that it is designed to function as an additional drag reduction system on the rear wing when the DRS is open.

With races coming up at fast tracks like Spa, Monza and Suzuka, it could be a useful gain for Lotus in qualifying, where they need a boost to be able to get on terms with front running rivals.

GERMAN GRAND PRIX, Free Practice 2, (Wet)
1. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m27.476 14
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m27.564s + 0.088 24
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m27.902s + 0.426 24
4. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m28.402s + 0.926 26
5. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m28.420s + 0.944 20
6. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m28.495s + 1.019 22
7. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m28.513s + 1.037 23
8. Jenson Button McLaren 1m28.516s + 1.040 16
9. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m28.877s + 1.401 21
10. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m29.327s + 1.851 22
11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m29.364s + 1.888 26
12. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m29.719s + 2.243 15
13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m29.785s + 2.309 24
14. Charles Pic Marussia 1m30.090s + 2.614 19
15. Timo Glock Marussia 1m30.220s + 2.744 16
16. Bruno Senna Williams 1m30.291s + 2.815 22
17. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m30.331s + 2.855 26
18. Paul di Resta Force India 1m30.437s + 2.961 14
19. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m30.617s + 3.141 16
20. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m31.207s + 3.731 20
21. Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1m32.241s + 4.765 22
22. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1m32.349s + 4.873 17
23. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m32.777s + 5.301 18
24. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1m42.566s + 15.090 8

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Tom in adelaide

Hmmm looks like RedBull have started “Operation get Seb back in front of Mark while we still have a chance”…….


Funny you should say that, Tom, I’ve been wondering about that myself!



It’s raining in Germany. If it turns out to be of ‘biblical proportions’ like Silverstone, should the GP be taken away from Hockenheim, as suggested by several posters with the UK circuit?

If you have a moment,James, what is the condition of the spectator parking there – are they hard-surfaced & are there good access roads?


In Canada now, after decades of complete F1 coverage, we are left with an 8pm spot on a Sunday night, for the race only, hours and hours after the race itself.

How am I to follow this sport?

This is getting hard.

It’s like what happened to boxing with pay-per-view. Ruined that sport too.

Honestly, without websites like this, I would have “no clue” as to what is going on.

My interest may only last so long though…without the standard Sunday race format.

Good luck Bernie – you probably know what you are doing, but still…give the cigarette addicted fans a break, eh?


Daphne, you can pick up various live European TV broadcasts of F1 streamed on the Internet with domain masking.


A lot of the rest of the world is also stuck with bbc feed (albeit live). I really miss Martin Brundle’s commentary.

No offense, but Legard offers near zero insight so I don’t watch the practice sessions when he is on anymore. It really is too painfully boring.


Here in NZ we’re pretty lucky getting P1, P2, and Q1,2,and 3 live, (plus the race) and we have MySky HDI to record anything so we can watch at any time! I’m surprised Canada is lagging behind.

Re Legard, I don’t have a problem with him, but I sure have a problem with Alguasari, I find him boreing and uninteresting and mostly I can’t understand what he is saying!



Here in South Africa we haven’t had Formula 1 for free for the better part of a decade. For a long time I suffered late night rebroadcasts on the free channels, and when those were pulled, I ended up at a pub or a mates house to watch. Finally a couple of years ago I could afford to get a subscription service, which costs ~R8000pa (600 pounds a year). So I know exactly how the average joe in the UK feels and what he is going through at the mo.. It isn’t fun.

Now without sky (particularly Brundle), there is a feeling of shafted-ness yet again.


I was Schumachers biggest fan, a H-U-G-E fan when he was at Ferrari, and I thought he retired a year or two too early and missed out on an the eighth title that he thoroughly deserved. Raikkonen’s title certainly would’ve been his and when Massa lost by a point to Hamilton well you can’t imagine that would’ve happened to Schuey, giving him his ninth WDC!

So I was excited to hear of his return to the sport a couple of years ago to a Mercedes team headed by Brawn and thought his deserved 8th title would be a definite possibility. But how times have changed…

Now it’s just a bit like watching your elderly uncle on the dance floor late at night at a wedding. The older folk take their seats as the latest hits start pumping and the dance floor fills with uber cool looking twenty-somethings grooving away effortlessly. Yet he remains out there on his own looking ever so slightly out of place while enthusiasticaly thrashing the latest dance moves never quite in time with the music.

Meanwhile all around people smile knowingly as they all come to the same conclusion that he really ought to just sit down and engage in some stimulating adult conversation over a nice cup of tea and wedding cake.


Thanks James, but I must correct you, the gearbox change is not forced, they could choose to use the Silverstone gearbox, but choose to take a penalty on the balance of probabilities, knowing there is irregular wear on that box. I would prefer if teams were forced to use the gearboxes as it would serve the purpose of cost cutting better, and would occasionally add to the spectacle by increasing the number of mechanical DNF’s, engineering to the limit we often enjoyed in the old days….



Sky have been speculating that the new device will not be used by Lotus for this race. Do your sources concur?

Good to see McLaren with some pace on inters; those were definitely the bogey tyres for them at Silverstone – now we just need to hope the pace in general is good!


Love the top 8 here — all different teams.


“I simply slid off track because I lost a little concentration: we were talking on the radio and I was altering some settings at the same time. But that’s all part of the game.”

In his previous career, he’d be adjusting things all through the lap, chatting to Ross Brawn to the extent that Brawn once said, “you’d never believe he was driving a F1 car at speed, he was so relaxed”

He had so much spare capacity to be thinking other things.

It’s situations like this that make me question if he really has that ability anymore.

Fair play for his honesty though.


Hahahaha – just call him old and get on with it.

Seriously I think the cars are so much more complex now days than in MS first career. Its a bit of a joke how many things the driver must do.

James: it would be interesting to get a one lap take on what and how many things a F1 driver must do – ie KERS, DRS, Brake bias etc


Good idea. Thanks


So it seems we’re in for another topsy turvy qualifying with more rain predicted, but one can’t help feeling cheated out of epic wet races for this time last year, we already had two wet races in what was the driest year on record.

Right, first impressions from this Friday practice is the Mclaren upgrades do work as evidenced by the 1-2 finish in FP1 plus Jenson’s positive over tones afterwards.

Also, Ferrari are looking strong, so do Mercedes with the Red Bull being the only question mark for they didn’t reveal their hand as always in FP1.

As for Lotus, their new DRS appears to not be making that much of difference as they are apparently not planning on running it.

Hahaha, I always smile whenever I hear Schumi call his mechanics, ”my boys” — ”my guys” shame about his crash but that can only mean his bad luck for the weekend is out of the way plus Schumi used to always bring his A game at his home race.

Anyway, according to free practice stats from 2012, Jenson is looking good for a podium on Sunday due to the fact he topped FP1 as 6 out of 9 drivers have gone on to do just that in 2012.

As for Maldonado, having topped FP2, he definitely won’t be fighting for the win as the pilots that have topped FP2 and FP3 are yet to win a race in 2012.

Finger crossed for a damp track tomorrow, enough with the Red flags already!


fascinating session to watch unfold!

certainly had to be following the action, otherwise, an after-the-fact perusal of the results would lead to a lot of head scratching.

no question Maldo is pretty quick. hope he has had the “fear of life” talk to get his head screwed on right. he certainly is not the first big series shoe who has needed to be reeled in a bit…

it actually confounds me that with so much engineering talent, super computers, a gazillion ‘net-connected laptops, so much time being spent on practice sessions to verify CFC, wind tunnel, simulator data, etc., that VERY few Teams ever seem to actually “pull the trigger” until they get positive on-track result confirmation from their hired gun lab rats and stop watches.

perfect example: if the blokes at Enstone have even half a clue what they are doing, Lotus would NOT pass the opportunity to use their new aero package. maybe it takes Kimi to say I WANT & NEED it. maybe it takes the Team principle to say “RoGro, u got it”. either decision is a massive compromise based upon a deciding factor that hundreds of blokes, computers, etc., are merely 33/67 percent capable – lets take a wee bit of a chance even if you think your engineering staff sucks…

how kewl do you think it is that a mere few people decide that probable proof of superiority by a huge staff is shot down because of some rain? great incentive package…

as much as I have always liked Kimi, as much as I am very surprised with RoGro, me thinks the Team is possibly incapable of winning a race this year with one of the best packages on the grid…

val from montreal

Hi James , what are your thoughts about Todt’s apparent talks with Michelin ? Do you think there’s a chance that Michelin would be willing to partner up with Mercedes AMG Petronas next year ?

Schumacher hates the Pirellis and maybe , just maybe Michelin and Mercedes can become the equivalent of Ferrari- Bridgestone ??

thanx !!


I hope Michelin does become a supplier.

I think it would be great to have two tyre manufacturers, even three.

I think the more differentiation in available equipment, the better. It’s starting to look a bit too much like a control formula in some ways.

More variables make the sport so much better. 🙂


Today has Michelin on board for the FIA Road Safety campaigns. They wer his preferred supplier for the current deal but the teams voted Pirelli.

Michelin will have another chance to bid next year for the 2014

They don’t really like not having another manufacturer to compete against, but may go for it next time


Maldonado for president.


Seb talking up Mclarens pace, saying their times looked very quick this morning. Now is that Seb being serious or sarcastic? 😛

I guess we’re in for another Silverstone like weekend, but with lighter rain. More overtaking opportunities here so if a car finds itself out of sorts, it should be able to make up the places.

Alonso looking good for a strong result here.

As for the updates on various cars, especially Mclaren and Lotus… I’ll reserve judgement until the proof is in the pudding 🙂

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