Schumacher puts the brakes on euphoria

Ralf Schumacher puts the brakes on the euphoria after Mercedes strong performance. Since the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, the dark clouds may have cleared considerably over the Mercedes factory in Brackley. But ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher is more circumspect.

Second place for Lewis Hamilton, who also highlighted the fact that he was finally able to overtake Formula 1 dominator Max Verstappen on the track again, Toto Wolff, who underlined that they were “happy with the pace” and the suspicion that George Russell could even have won the race if an engine failure had not slowed him down on lap 17.

At the F1 racing team Mercedes, which dominated motorsport’s highest category for years, a clear upward trend became apparent Down Under – for Ralf Schumacher no reason to assume a turnaround in the battle with Red Bull.


“It’s a bit of a one hit wonder,” Schumacher told Sky, assessing Mercedes’ race performance.

“Australia has always been a track where a car that works halfway suddenly works well,” the 47-year-old continued.

The same goes for the strong performance of the Haas team, which surprised with Nico Hülkenberg in seventh place, and for Williams, where Alex Albon was a sure contender for a top place until his retirement.



‘Plan B’ cancelled?

A big question is now whether the Mercedes W14 car is as poor as first thought by Toto Wolff and Co? Indeed the rhetoric was after the first two Grand Prix that the car concept was to be shelved in favour of a complete redesign, seemingly at the behest of Lewis Hamilton, whilst team mate George Russell appeared fairly silent on the subject, quietly getting on with it whilst outpacing his veteran team mate, certainly in qualifying.

Of course, a plan B car would doom Hamilton and Russell to another year of mere development with just two more years of these regulations left to run.


MORE F1 NEWS: Race directors praised for Australian GP decisions


Days after the Plan B revelation was made, Mercedes seemed to be scrambling to deny they are in some kind of half way house limbo where the chassis would remain the same, but the aero concept would be radically altered. Something even a junior F1 design engineer would know was tosh.

Mercedes Technical Director, Mike Elliot, now confirms, “So there is a bodywork coming, it will look different. It won’t look like somebody else’s, it will look like an evolution of ours. That’s on its way.”




Mercedes pleaded with Hamilton to keep the faith

Mercedes senior Tech management pleaded with Lewis to that they should continue working on the car to understand what they had got so wrong. The Australian Grand Prix will surely be used to justify continuing with the W13 / W14 concept.

Last year, after some serious struggles with the W13, the predecessor and genesis of this year’s car concept, by the time Monaco came around Lewis was towing the party line to a certain extent. When asked about starting from scratch with a new car Hamilton replied:

“I think we’ve got to figure out what’s wrong with this car before we can make another car. If we just started making another car we could easily get it wrong.”

“There’s definitely loads of things that I would not want from this car onto next year’s car,” added the British 7 times world champion.

One wonders if history will repeat itself.



Pace should encourage Mercedes

Nevertheless, Schumacher has a glimmer of hope in his pocket for Mercedes. The race showed that the Mercedes engine “is actually the strongest at the moment”. All the cars with Mercedes engines under the bonnet were “extremely strong”.

“That is of course a good sign,” Schumacher said, encouraging the Silver Arrows.



The big question, however, is how well Mercedes will do its homework in the three-week F1 break until the next Grand Prix and thus possibly close the gap to Red Bull somewhat.

Since the race in China was cancelled without replacement, the next race will be in Azerbaijan on 28 April.

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