The FIA took Mercedes up on their offer and have excluded them from this years young drivers test along with a reprimand (Pirelli also received a reprimand) after they undertook a 3 day tyre test using the 2013 car and current race drivers.
However the tribunal noted that they had been given indication that the test would be legal and acted in “good faith”. So the three day test will replace their young drivers test allocation..with accusation that Ferrari tested in 2012 and 2013 with an almost current car. However this was a car that was 2 years old which while maybe not being the legal definition it had been a gentleman’s agreement that a 2 season old car was not classed as current.
Despite Mark Webber and Felippe Massa’s respective returns to form as of late the talk has been about a great man’s form elluding him. The Turkish grand prix saw some of the old Schumacher magic return in free practice as Mercedes are finally dialling in the car, with his DRS problems fixed expectation was high. Although it all fell apart from Q3 onwards, he’d matched Rosberg in Q1 and marched into Q3 (Nico was a little faster in Q2 but the point is to get into Q3 there so its not a big issue) but ended up only 8th to Rosbergs season best of 3rd – just behind the mighty red bulls.
The race was no better with a bizzare crash with Petrov in the opening stages binned the chance of a good result. The crash with the Renault cost Schumi his front wing and around 30 seconds, which would of put him well up into the points but as it stands it left him 12th and with nil. Despite all the hoo-ha there is signs of competitiveness there, just Michael seems unable to hook it all up into a performance as of yet.
We did find out over the winter than he suffers from simulator sickness so the testing ban does hurt the 7 time former champion and furthermore the mission for the comeback was to establish Mercedes in much the same way Timo Glock, Heikki Kovalienen and Jarno Trulli are doing. The problem has been that as Merecedes took over Brawn GP people expected success from the off, the team are now looking competitive in the hands of the younger German and this has damaged Schumi’s return. If they had started a new team and slowly built their way forward Michael could of written off the whole thing as development work as there is no testing and reaped the praise if the other driver scored the points!
With the situation as it stands somethings got to give either Michael ups his game and beats Rosberg or he struggles out the year and hangs up the helmet. Although we said this last year and he still came charging back again.
Details have emerged that the DRS straight will be the pit straight again in Sepang (note the most expensive tickets) but with back to back drags it will be interesting to really see how much difference it makes this weekend.
Second up is the details of the differences in the cars, with Renault and Red Bull using 10% more fuel to make their diffusers effective, which goes someway to explain their one lap pace compared to their race pace. The other teams have got blown diffusers that do not use extra fuel and McLaren especially seem quite close.