Schumacher doubts strategy advantage

Schumacher faces the press at Jerez

Schumacher faces the press at Jerez

Michael Schumacher doesn’t think strategy will play as great a role in races in 2010 as it did during the refuelling era.

Talking to reporters after testing at Jerez today he said the combination of himself and Ross Brawn has “been very strong” in the past but wasn’t sure it would be as important this year:

We’ll find out. It’s an open point how much strategy is still important and how we will react.
Michael Schumacher

He also stressed he still had much to get used to in the new Mercedes team:

I’d like to have success with the team. I think we have all the ingredients, we have a good combination with Nico and myself and we have fantastic people here.

It’s a new challenge for me, it’s a new team and a new environment. It’s new for me after three years back and so on, so lots of new things and lots of interesting things.
Michael Schumacher

With no rain at the track today Schumacher enjoyed a full day’s running in the W01, with only a few interruptions due to other cars stopping. He said he was happy with the car so far:

[It was] very consistent, no problem. Unfortunately couldn’t finish exactly as wanted because of red flag but that’s natural in testing.
Michael Schumacher

Nico Rosberg will be back in the car tomorrow before handing back to Schumacher on Saturday.

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29 comments on Schumacher doubts strategy advantage

  1. The FIA and FOTA have practically killed race strategy and tactics in F1.

    • and what will it leave?
      procession or racing?

      • It will hopefully produce more racing. Formula 1 has lost the risk taking and overtaking that there used to be.

        • Watch the Brazilian GP the last 2 seasons?

          • I did watch the brazilian grand prix. So there was some overtaking there but what about the rest of the year.i’m a big F1 fan i just think they need to push harder, so many drivers seem to accept where they are and don’t push it’s not like they are not paid enough and they are supposed to be the best.

          • There is more overtaking at Bahrain than there was at Imola. Likewise the there is more overtaking at the new Hockenheim than the old.

            We had KERS assisted overtaking last season at every circuit. There was probably more overtaking last season than ever before, easily more than the late nineties.

            To overtake the car in front must be slower. Can you see the problem? How do get a slower car in front of a faster one in a motor race?

          • Maciek said on 11th February 2010, 20:54

            “There was probably more overtaking last season than ever before, easily more than the late ninetie”

            You’d have to do some serious counting and come up with the numbers to substantiate that for me to believe it.

            Let’s just see what happens this year without artificial excitement being injected through half-assed rules. If it is boring, they’ll change it.

            The thing is that the cars that are fastest in qualifying are not necessarily the fastest on a full tank, and tyre wear will come into play, so it’s not just as simple as saying “we’ll have no passing because the cars in front will just stay in front” – personally I don’t believe that for a second.

          • You’d have to do some serious counting and come up with the numbers to substantiate that for me to believe it.

            I wish the data was available, I reckon the would be a pretty clear positive trend. You can get a vague picture from timings and race reports, certainly the kind of performance gaps you had in the past were not conducive to overtaking and they clearly increase the further back you go. The origin of this opinion for me came from Murray Walker who made the assertion on more than one occasion.

            Let’s just see what happens this year without artificial excitement being injected through half-assed rules.

            Like the top ten qualifiers starting on used tyres?

            If it is boring, they’ll change it.

            If it’s exciting they’ll change it. They’re addicted to changing the rules I tell you ;)

            You know how Keith does the predictions thing for races well I reckon we should do it for rule changes as well, 2011 what do you reckon?

            The thing is that the cars that are fastest in qualifying are not necessarily the fastest on a full tank, and tyre wear will come into play, so it’s not just as simple as saying “we’ll have no passing because the cars in front will just stay in front” – personally I don’t believe that for a second.

            Those are good points. I’m not saying we’ll have no passing, I’m not even saying we’ll have less passing and I agree we could well have more. I think there is a misconception about overtaking in the past.

          • lol

    • Well that’s good. Maybe they will have to pass each other on the track now? That’s what used to happen you know! :)

      • People have always passed on track, it’s a fallacy that they didn’t. In fact the number of passes has probably increased over time not the other way around. Teams have consistently become more competitive making overtaking for position more and more likely. Pit strategies helped make changes of position more possible than they would have been otherwise. In the past a lack of reliability has been one of the main catalysts for position changes but now the cars are so reliable that it’s rare which made the use of strategy even more significant.

        • It doesn’t matter what you do with F1, driver skill will always be more appreciated by the general public than either engineering skill or team work, even on this forum and many others there is much more debate about ‘best driver’ than ‘best car’.

          F1 must therefore reflect this in what we see and try to get away from the ‘chess game’ mentality of the last decade or so.

          • So why is GP2, a series that gives drivers a level playing field and a better platform to show their relative talents, less popular than F1?

            People talk less about best car because it’s a more matter of fact discussion. You can’t argue that the FW31 is a better car than the BGP01 because there is clear factual evidence to prove the Brawn is better. Whereas you could argue that Rosberg is better than Barichello because it’s highly subjective.

            Driver skill comes in many forms and tactical thinking should be part of that.

        • No, passing on track in F1 has been relatively rare in the past few years unless you count lapping backmarkers or passing a collision/breakdown/hobbled car. Passing in the pits has been the way that major lead/position changes have been performed at several race venues (Monaco, Hungary, Singapore, Valencia) due to either an overly narrow track or due to a complete lack of long straights followed by tight corners. Look at the tracks that are easier to overtake at (Spa, Sepang, Bahrain) and you will notice that they have the characteristics that are missing at the difficult venues. When you combine that with the ridiculously complex front end aerodynamics that depends on calm, clear air in front of the car and a rear end that produces nothing but vortex riddled air for several car lengths behind a car, you have a recipe for generating no chance of passing without the lead car making a MAJOR mistake.

  2. “So why is GP2, a series that gives drivers a level playing field and a better platform to show their relative talents, less popular than F1?”

    Now that is a mystery. Maybe it’s something to do with the series name and the drivers names?

    Oh, and I’d much prefer that F1 drivers drove the ‘Superleague’ cars, if only because they sound much better than either GP2 or F1 cars do. :)

    F1 is probably closer to being a ‘spec’ series than ever before and yet people still watch it, but why?

    “Driver skill comes in many forms and tactical thinking should be part of that.”

    Yes, he ought to be able to decide for himself whether or not to pit for tyres, rather than be told what to do by the man on the pit wall. Anything that makes the ‘driver’ think more tactically is a good thing.

    • People like the technological element of F1. The idea that these are the fastest cars bar Thrust SSC. That’s the main reason we’re all so excited about the car launches, the testing, the technological innovations. Even people who aren’t really into that side of it feel the allure that the image exudes.

      I like the team element. F1 is and always has been a team sport. Drivers can’t make the cars by themselves, they can’t go racing by themselves, pre-war they used to drive a mechanic around with them! Drivers make decisions in conjunction with their teams and good drivers are capable of making decisions alone.

  3. wasiF1 said on 12th February 2010, 1:23

    He is right,now the driver have to do everything on track.

  4. wasiF1 said on 12th February 2010, 1:24

    He is right,now the drivers have to do everything on track

  5. “People like the technological element of F1.”

    Very few people know what’s going on under the skin of an F1 car. Very few people actually care.

    “The idea that these are the fastest cars bar Thrust SSC.”

    You’ve never been to a ‘Dragster’ meeting then?

    IRL is ‘faster’ so is NASCAR, and their technology is positively archaic in comparison to F1, but they are still “fastest” from a visual point of view, and to some that is all that matters, but racing is more than just speed.

    • F1 has a higher top straight line speed than IRL. F1 has faster cornering speeds. F1 has faster acceleration. Just because F1 races around circuits that don’t allow for higher average speeds doesn’t mean an F1 car isn’t faster. I’m not even gonna bother with NASCAR.

      No I’ve never been to a dragster meeting and I probably never will as it bores the hell out of me. I’m talking about proper racing cars not accelerating machines.

      Most of what goes on under a F1 cars skin is fairly common to all motor cars, a lot of people understand the basic principles of an internal combustion engine and nearly all modern road cars feature more advanced technology than the modern F1 car. But you missed my point, people don’t have to understand or care about the technology to be attracted to the image that is built up around it.

      • “F1 has a higher top straight line speed than IRL.”

        Are you sure about that!? And MotoGP bikes generally hit higher top speeds than F1 cars do when racing on the same circuits.

        “F1 has faster cornering speeds.”

        Too much downforce. It wouldn’t be beyond the wit of other ‘spec’ series to build cars that have more power and more downforce than current F1 cars. All they need do is have a look at an 08 F1 car to get some idea of what needs to be done. Why don’t they do that? Because it would probably end up killing someone and it wouldn’t be F1.

        “F1 has faster acceleration.”

        Bearly, if at all, and is it actually that noticeable without the aid of a stop watch?

        “No I’ve never been to a dragster meeting and I probably never will as it bores the hell out of me.”

        Of course it does, but they are more powerful and much ‘faster’.

        “But you missed my point, people don’t have to understand or care about the technology to be attracted to the image that is built up around it.”

        So they could nearly all be powered by Cosworth engines and it would still be F1? Oh, wait, that happened already!

  6. The Limit said on 12th February 2010, 14:45

    I am not so sure about claims made earlier on this subject that there ‘is more overtaking in F1 now than in the late 1990′s’ or that the old Hockenheim produced a lesser quality of racing than the new layout.
    One statistic you may find of worthy note is that attendance for the Hockenheim event dropped dramatically following the 2002 revamp which saw Herman Tilke effectively cut the circuit in half, and this was four years before Michael Schumacher retired.
    We have to ask ourselves, why do we love watching the sport? Raw speed plays a huge part in the attraction, and I am sure most fans prefer seeing these cars at 210mph than 80mph. Monza, after all these years, still remains one of the most popular grands prix for multiple reasons.
    One is the history that Monza represents, two it is the spiritual home of Ferrari, and three it is the fastest circuit on the calender. Juan Pablo Montoya’s lap in 2002 sticks in the memory, an average speed of 160mph+, which was simply amazing.
    Recently, the 2000 German Gp at Hockenheim featured on this website’s best gp’s of the past decade, and recieved a healthy amount of votes. So, it is not as cut and dried as some proclaim.
    As far as tactics go, now that refuelling has been taken out of the equation, that still leaves the problem of tyre wear and tyre management. The driver that can maintain the pace on full tanks, whilst babying their tyres, will have a big advantage. Tyre lock ups this season, especially in the early stages of grands prix, may well dictate the outcome of races due to the extra loads due to carrying all that fuel. So, looking at it that way, tactics will remain just as important as they were during the refuelling years

    • I think you’ll find that drops in attendances at Hockenheim have largely been the result of the changes, spectator capacity fell by 50,000 and there are now significantly less GA tickets, apparently 90,000 less.

      I didn’t say that old Hockenheim produced a lesser quality of racing I said it produced less on track passes. I prefer old Hockenheim, I would rather it still existed but I’m not blind to the fact that over taking is a lot easier there now than it was.

      Yes I too love raw speed, I wish there was more of it, at no point did I say F1 cars should be slower.

      Is the spiritual home of Ferrari not Modena?

    • “Raw speed plays a huge part in the attraction, and I am sure most fans prefer seeing these cars at 210mph than 80mph.”

      Which is obvious. :) But does it need to be more than 210mph ? Or would anyone notice if it went down to 200mph ? Or would we settle on 215mph ? Or just as long as it’s faster (?) than any other open wheel racing series ?

      At any rate, there comes a point (and this has been passed on many occasions) where safety considerations take precedence over outright performance.

      • So why persist with open tops and open wheels?

      • but 215 mph now is much much safer now than it was in the past. speeds can increase whilst maintaing a acceptable level of safety, F1 could bring in the safer barriers that have spread across the tracks in america thanks to NASCAR and IRL. speaking of nascar, their speeds have increased this year and they are happy about

  7. The Limit said on 13th February 2010, 23:35

    My observations about the financial trouble Hockenheim has faced over recent years and the new track layout are more than just my own opinion or idle speculation, but facts attained by a survey conducted seven years ago after the circuit had held its first grands prix with the new layout.
    Certain media outlets have also highlighted the findings of this survey, and it clearly shows that attendances have dropped far more than you suggest. The new stand that was built in 2002 had to be filled with Mercedes Benz employees just to give the impression of huge fan numbers when the reality was anything but. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!
    As for your claims of better racing, I can only think of one hairpin that offers a good overtaking chance at the new circuit, as opposed to several different opportunities at the old circuit.
    Herman Tilke, for all of his talents, has created a raft of circuits all designed on the model of Barcelona, where it is near impossible to pass anyone.

  8. MoonWalker said on 25th February 2010, 8:29

    Want to see more passing? For one, give the teams stronger engines and weaker breaks. It will be harder to outbreak the other guy, harder to defend the position, and easier to force the opponent to make a mistake.

    It will actually give drivers a room to show their real car control skills.

    To make it more interesting from technical point of view, give the teams a little bit more engineering freedom. We want to see revolutionary changes and new sharp ideas, but current rules prevent it almost completely.

  9. Could this be an admission that races will be more predictable and boring, and if so what reactionary measures should we expect from FIA to spice it up…

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