MERCEDES

The Brack­ley-based Ger­man su­perteam are leav­ing their ri­vals trail­ing in their wake

F1 Racing - - IN­SIDER -

What a time! Paddy Lowe lived and worked through the daz­zling 1992 sea­son with the Wil­liams FW14B-Re­nault and now it’s more of the same – with the pro­viso that it’s now Paddy’s show and things are hap­pen­ing his way.

You need only spend a few hours at the Mercedes fac­tory in Brack­ley to see that this is a large team run in homely style. There’s no pre­ten­sion; no uff. Here are a bunch of rac­ers, each work­ing as a part of a har­mo­nious whole. Paddy isn’t Adrian Newey but he has the same inuence over the team: the same can­not be said of any other tech­ni­cal peo­ple in F1.

“Credit to Toto Wolff… he saw the po­ten­tial and gave Paddy Lowe the blank can­vas”

Credit, then, to Toto Wolff, for mak­ing this hap­pen. Paddy was tech­ni­cal direc­tor at McLaren but he wasn’t an in-your-face, fu­ture star in the McLaren galaxy way of things. Wolff saw the po­ten­tial and gave Lowe the blank can­vas.

The Mercedes W05 Hy­brid is an ex­cel­lent rac­ing car from front to rear. Typ­i­cal of the pack­age is the sim­ple, el­e­gant gear-box-in-agear box rear struc­ture ini­ti­ated by Aldo Costa: it pro­vides all the pick-up-point rigid­ity in the world, saves weight and im­proves the prac­ti­cal­ity of the car. Fer­rari had both this de­sign and Costa – and they let both of them go. Enough said.

I wouldn’t like to be the guy who has to keep the peace be­tween Lewis Hamil­ton and Nico Ros­berg. In 1992, there was no prob­lem: Nigel Mansell was a quan­tum leap ahead of Ric­cardo Pa­trese. Not so with Nico/Lewis. But Paddy and Toto have done as well as can be ex­pected, giv­ing F1 some­thing to talk about when it could all have been so pre­dictable.

With Nico’s re­tire­ment at Sil­ver­stone came the re­dress­ing of a bal­ance that for most of the rst part of the sea­son had fallen away from Lewis. Now they’re close enough to be even. Lewis still has a slight ad­van­tage in terms of out­right pace: he nds lit­tle at spots with the car, par­tic­u­larly in change-of-di­rec­tion se­quences, about which the rest of the pack can only dream. But he made crit­i­cal brak­ing er­rors in Q3 in both Canada and Aus­tria – and tripped up in Q3 at Sil­ver­stone.

Nico, by con­trast, has been fast, cool, con­sis­tent and ef­fec­tive – a driver un­afraid to ex­e­cute a per­fect Monaco Ma­noeu­vre at the height of Q3. It was in the wake of this, Lewis backed away from Q3 at Sil­ver­stone. The thought was that Nico would do the same, thus se­cur­ing pole for Lewis.

Nico forged ahead, though, tak­ing his fourth pole of the year and nos­ing in front of Lewis ve­four in terms of grid po­si­tions. That one mo­ment in time could well have dened the rest of the sea­son to come.

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