We had mentioned that Mercedes GP is looking to bring a longer wheel-base car to Spain. According to Alan baldwin at Reuter‘s, it seems that this is indeed the case but the Spanish Grand Prix will see a return of the chassis that the team tested with prior to the start of the year.
Team boss Ross Brawn says that in a struggle to identify the issues plaguing 7-time champion Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP has lengthened the wheel base and will bring the test chassis back to see if this will remedy the situation.
It has been said from the beginning that the car understeers and Schumacher likes a stiffer, more exact set-up with oversteer. Brawn Said:
“The one (chassis) he had got damaged during the first few races and we repaired it as best we could at the races,” said Brawn, removing his orange life-jacket after stepping off a lifeboat onto a jetty by London’s Waterloo bridge.
“Now we are back at base we are going to re-introduce the test chassis and he will be using that in Barcelona.
“We want to eliminate any doubt because obviously Michael has come back, he’s trying to find his references and is trying to work out how to approach things,” he explained.
Mercedes GP has been doing well but not what Brawn expected. While Nico Rosberg has had two podium finishes in a row, it has only highlighted the disparity between the young German driver and his veteran countryman Schumacher. Something that has hurt the team but Brawn says a lack of dominance has them still in the hunt:
“Undoubtedly these tyres are a bit different to what he’s used to,” said Brawn. “Maybe, with the car and the tyres, it’s not towards the way he likes to have a car which is very responsive and very sharp. We haven’t been able to provide him with that yet.”
“We’ve not had a fantastic start but we are still in there because no-one else is really dominating either,” he added, the platform swaying gently against the wash of passing boats. “There is still plenty of opportunity.
The big questions most are asking is will the longer wheel-base and original testing chassis suit Schumacher’s deriving style better or will it still be short of the mark? Time will tell but I submit that this entire year will be more of a test bed and development year for both Schumacher and Mercedes as both get their feet wet in returning to the sport after many years out of it.