UPDATED 13:01 GMT A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,
OTD Lite 1929 – Birth of Mike Hawthorn – The Farnham Flyer
It’s not that we have to quit
this life one day, but it’s how
many things we have to quit
all at once: music, laughter,
the physics of falling leaves,
automobiles, holding hands,
the scent of rain, the concept
of subway trains… if only one
could leave this life slowly!”
~Roman Payne – Rooftop Soliloquy~
86 years ago today, Mike Hawthorn was born.
Mike was not one to do things slowly or at half measure. He raced for the joy of it. His father had enough money to buy him Cooper and he got into the points in his first race at Spa in 1952, rapidly bringing him to the attention of Enzo Ferrari.
He was British and proud of it, but not too proud to drive a Ferrari. There was no way he could turn down the chance to be in the same team as legends Alberto Ascari and Nino Farina. In 1953 he won at Rheims, becoming the first British driver to win a Formula One race. The 1958 championship came down to the last race – Hawthorne against Moss – both British to the core…Hawthorn driving for Ferrari and Moss in a Vanwell. Moss had won four races to Hawthorn’s one win but Moss had more retirements. To win the championship Moss needed to win and set the fastest lap…and hope that Hawthorne would finish no higher than third. Hawthorn’s team mate Phil Hill waved him past late in the race to give him second place and the championship by a single point. He was the first British World Champion.
But during 1958, racing stopped being fun. It had been a tragic year with four drivers dying on the track. One was Peter Collins, Hawthorns best mate, his bon ami. He decided it was time to retire…but not necessarily slow down. A few months later Hawthorne was dead after crashing his Jaguar at speed on the Guildford bypass in the rain. He was 29…
Mercedes gives you wings
After the Mercedes team was on the receiving end of a scarlet warning shot in Sepang, the team has brought a larger aero upgrade in the form of a revised front wing and a modified rear wing.
In Shanghai Mercedes have always done well in recent years, including scoring their first win courtesy of Nico Rosberg in 2012. Although they are largely expected to return to dominant form, the drivers admit that the W06 gives them more options to modify the setup, at the expense that it makes it harder to hit an optimal setup. Especially tyre wear is critical and was the main reason for Ferrari’s surprise win in Malaysia.
Nico Rosberg described to Motorsport Total that the setup is completely unique to the Chinese track and bears no resemblance to what was used in the previous races, especially as the track is hard on front tyres. The German admitted that tyre degradation is high on this year’s car, but reckons that over the course of the race they would lose more if they reconfigured the car “just so it can be nice to the tyres.”
An upside to this is, that it is relatively easy to get the necessary heat into the tyre, which is important for qualifying, where in relative terms Mercedes is further ahead of their rivals than in long runs.
Fan invades track
RB11 design still proving problematic in Shanghai
Having finally accepted that being soundly beaten by Toro Rosso in Malaysia means the design of the RB11 is less than perfect, RBR decided they would switch the heart of their braking system back to the Brembo product they used in 2014.
Yet today, there were more braking issues for the Milton Keynes based team as Daniel Kvyat had an off during the FP2 session. Christian Horner explained.
“Something overheated within the rear hub assembly, as a result of that we lost pressure in the master cylinder half way round the lap.
“We asked him to drive back slowly without using the brakes if at all possible, but unfortunately he had to brake at turn 14 and he had a very slow off.
“It’s frustrating it’s happened, but all the relevant pieces are intact so we can find out what the root cause was.”
Horner claimed this was “a one-off”, though fans of the Red Bull team will recall the plumes of break dust the RB11 repeatedly spewed during the last race in Sepang.
It’s no co-incidence when an F1 designer is famed for his aero genius and tight packaging, that his car designs early season often have a range of overheating issues.