Strange Mercedes decisions continue
If you have a car as ridiculously superior as the last two Mercedes offerings, you have a luxury problem. You have two drivers, who under normal circumstances will at least finish second, and neither of them wants to be the one who does. The historical precedent of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in 1988 has shown that such a situation is a blow-up waiting to happen. Mercedes’ approach to this conundrum is trying to manage it and there are three-hundred and eleventy team-internal rules that define what will be done and how, under which circumstances, depending on the ambient temperature.
That’s all jolly well and quite effective in deciding who gets the undercut and who goes out first in Q3, but as soon as one variable changes and no pertinent rule can be found in Merc’s rule book, they tend to add to their long list of questionable, if not down-right daft decisions. Montreal featured two of those. The smaller one was to give Lewis Hamilton full information on Rosberg’s car at a time when the German was closing in, while denying Rosberg the same a few laps later after being slapped across the wrist for a radio-ban infraction. For a team that represents one of the worlds biggest car manufacturers giving out a message like the one they did to Lewis is simply laughingly unprofessional. The coaching ban has been in place for a year now.
The one that really had me scratch my head was the decision to send out Rosberg on his first Q3 run with a set of tyres that the team knew was produced on a Monday after a football game and they didn’t tell him until Rosberg called in to tell them that inexplicably his car had no more rear-end grip. As it turned out, it was the extra set that every Q3 participant gets and it has to be used or given back, but telling Rosberg beforehand that it was a bad set would have caused him to expect it instead of getting worried what had happened to his car. In a battle that is often decided by a tenth of a second and less, unsettling their own driver like that is daft to say the least and shows yet again, just how much Mercedes would need someone like Ross Brawn.
Schumacher jr. injured in Formula-4 race
Mick Schumcher’s first weekend out of karts had been a success with the son of seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher taking his maiden win in just his 3rd race. His recent weekend at the Red Bull Ring was less successful however. Taken out of the first race in a collision after the start, the German was running tenth in race two, which would have given him pole for race three as the last race of a weekend features a reversed top-10 on the grid.
However, of course Austrian Thomas Preining in eleventh coveted that position too and nerfed Schumacher jr. into the wall after running into the back of baby-Schu’s car. The German was taken to the medical centre and diagnosed with a broken hand, therefore missing race three. It looks like the young lad learns about the ups and downs of racing at a speed that befits his bloodline.
‘Big Four’ trying to get rid of smaller teams
For everyone but the most saintly innocents among us, there is one major rule to observe when lying through your teeth – keep the line of bull you’re selling consistent. That is a lesson that was apparently taught when young Maurizio Arrivabene had been home with a bad case of logorrhea. When the news surfaced that there had been a meeting of the now infamous Strategy Group, but neither Williams nor Force India had been invited, the Italian explained that such was not necessary as their interests had been represented in the form of their engine supplier Mercedes.
Both Claire Williams and Bob Fernley denied ever having given a mandate to Mercedes to represent their interests. The message here is clear. As Mercedes’ b*tches, they aren’t supposed to have any differing opinion, so why bother inviting them? We have reported before that the engine manufacturers are starting to forge an alliance, and it looks like the strategy group is their first testing ground. If I was Bernie, I’d be watching my back…