Has Mercedes given up on 2012?

As we mentioned on podcast #287, we tend to think that Mercedes has began focusing on the 2013 chassis some time ago and trust us folks, that’s no big relevation but what I do think is an interesting talking point is Nico Rosberg’s comments today about the development of the 2012 car:

“We’re focussing on next year all the time,” he said. “We’re still motivated to try and get some top results this year – we need to make a good end to the season.

“But at the same time we’re pushing new developments through all the time on the car at the moment.

“And they are all going to help us next year because the rules are staying the same, so anything good for this year is going to be good for next year also. It’s a bit of both.”

The fact is, the regulations are not changing a lot for next year and this brings one thing into consideration, what or whom do you think will fare the best with the limited regulation changes? What creative (dual diffuser/blown diffuser) innovation do you think we may see? Could we see a more advanced version of the Coander exhaust? Maybe a different type of innovation since the dual DRS is not allowed? Lotus F1’s DRS is said to be passive so will that pass FIA scrutinization?

The issue is, when the regulations remain stable, we tend to see really good racing. Pirelli has already commented on their tires for 2013 and said they will be less of an unknown as the compounds were in 2012 and the teams will have a chance to test the 2013 tires in Brazil at the final race weekend of 2012.

The sad thing, for Schumacher fans, is that if Mercedes are in full 2013 development mode, then the team isn’t really going to give the 7-time champ a shot at winning one more race. I think Michael has resigned himself to that reality so no big surprise for him. With 20 points in hand over Sauber, is there a reason for pause that the Swiss team could overtake them in the constructor’s championship? Clearly Mercedes won’t reach Lotus F1 but Sauber could have a shot if their drivers keep the pressure going and Schumacher continues to DNF and as we mentioned on the latest F1B Downshift, that’s worst massive dollars.

Most of the teams will use the remaining race weekends as tests for their 2013 parts as the regulations (or lack of regulation changes for 2013) will allow for this type of on-track proving ground for parts. Could Nico be right? The lack of drastic changes could see a 2013 part really improve the 2012 chassis and if that happens, it might be an interesting three races.

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