F1 News: Mercedes Plans Diffuser Unveil, Sauber Might Have Tire Advantage

What Happens When Everyone Is Excited and Nothing Is Happening (for the fans, at home)

12:01am EST — Yet another day closer to the season opener in Bahrain, yet another slow news days in Formula1.

Mercedes Plans Diffuser Unveil:
According to an ITV article, “Mercedes is bringing a big upgrade to Sakhir, where it will run with its definitive 2010 diffuser for the first time.”  While the team, fielding Michael Schumacher in his return to F1 and Nico Rosberg, was not a stand-out in the fifteen days of pre-season testing (for a full analysis of those tests, see “F1: Complete 2010 Pre-Season Testing Analysis” here at On Any Sunday, These Days), they hope to do perform better now that the two weeks between the test and the first race have been used for development.  According to Schumacher, “Our car also has not been in its final configuration – something we had deliberately wanted…It is important to be close and then use the long season to be at the top at the end. It is not the start which is important; it is the finish.”  This sort of waiting could have wonderful or disastrous consequences for the 2009 championship team.  Either the team will have pulled off the final development and will continue to grow throughout the season, as Schumacher suggests, or they could simply stay where they were a month ago: in the upper mid-pack.  One does not want to doubt the racing dream team that is Schumacher and Ross Brawn, it is Formula1 and nearly anything can happen.

Sauber Tire Performance Could Make Quite the Difference:
In an interview with Autosport, Bridgestone’s director of motorsport tire development, Hirohide Hamashima, says, “We have compared many teams’ data…Sauber is more consistent.”  According to the article, “Hamashima believes the difference between Sauber and the other teams is enough to offer the outfit strategy options that others do not have.”  Sauber technical chief Willy Rampf agrees, “Our car is not too heavy on its tyres [sic], so we can do reasonable long stints without killing them. That will help keep the strategies more flexible, if you’re not forced to stop by tyre [sic] wear.”  With Sauber posting highly respectable times in pre-season testing, the team might be a surprise contender for serious points in 2010, and possibly the championship or as a championship decider with properly managed tire strategy.  Without refueling and with the requirement that teams must use each compound in the dry, tire strategy will be key throughout the season.


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