Schumacher keeps Mercedes’ front wing hidden after spin

2012 Australian Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher was keen to keep photographers from snapping his car’s front wing after spinning during the Australian Grand Prix weekend.

This video shot by a fan shows Schumacher directing track marshals on the recovery of his Mercedes W03 to keep the underside of the front wing from view.

The video was taken after Schumacher spun at turn nine in the last minutes of final practice on Saturday.

There is much speculation over how Mercedes might be using their car’s DRS to direct airflow in a beneficial way to other parts of the car. This could include lower parts of the rear wing or even the front wing.

2012 Australian Grand Prix

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55 comments on Schumacher keeps Mercedes’ front wing hidden after spin

  1. Mach1 (@mach1) said on 19th March 2012, 18:07

    Clever Schumi……never taking his eye off the ball

  2. Mach1 (@mach1) said on 19th March 2012, 18:10

    I think mateschitz filmed this…..

  3. Fisha695 (@fisha695) said on 19th March 2012, 18:26

    There was a pic on Twitter that showed the underside of the wing from when the car was lifted off the ground a bit to tow it back to the pits and you could see the slots under the wing. I wish I remembered who had tweeted it but I don’t.

  4. Buran (@buran) said on 19th March 2012, 18:34

    to me it looks more like he’s pushing the front down to rise the back in care of the diffuser not to be damage against the ground. Also he stay’s near the back of the car guarding the back from the photographers on scene. Indeed something is been hidden.

  5. Well, he was keen to stop them at first, but then he seemed to lose interest, at which point the photographers had plenty of opportunity! (Although then, toward the end of the video, he chases one of them away from the rear wing.)

  6. MahavirShah (@mahavirshah) said on 19th March 2012, 19:21

    That is very smart thinking by Schumacher. Mercedes may be having a lot of hopes on this system. My only question is that the FWFD system activates when DRS is activated. This allows them to use it freely anytime in qualifying. The benefit of he FWFD is to stabilize the front end. However, given that in most race situations the DRS zone is pretty much straight without any need for front end stability, how much of a benefit can they extract from it?

    • Mach1 (@mach1) said on 19th March 2012, 19:40

      I would assume by instability they refer to the difference in down-force being produced. The rear wing may be “stalled” but the front wing is still producing lots of down-force. So to negate this and make the car more “aerodynamically stable” they have found a way to stall the front wing too. This should also make it faster in a straight line. That is what I understand anyway.

    • Arijit (@arijitmaniac) said on 20th March 2012, 6:12

      More downforce often equates to more drag and consequently lesser speed.
      So to negate this teams (Mclaren) found the f-duct two years back which stalls the rear wing to reduce downforce on straights where its not required to have that much downforce. But consequently it reduces drag which was the most important effect of the system. Lowering the drag increases the top speed the car.
      Now with the DRS the balance of the car goes wrong when DRS is activated as the rear produces less downforce but the front wing is still producing downforce.
      So Mercedes’ FWFD system reduces the downforce from the front wing and thus cancelling out the imbalance in downforce (as its not necessary to have that much downforce on straights. whatever downforce the diffuser generates is more that enough). This provides better balance to the car. But most importantly it reduces the drag from the front wing just how the f-duct used to. So the top speed increases.
      Thus the FWFD system has the double advantage of reducing the downforce thus improving the balance as well as reducing drag and increasing the top speed.
      This is my view of the system.

  7. scoobiesnoop (@scoobiesnoop) said on 19th March 2012, 19:35

    Smacks of McLarens ‘extra’ brake pedal! Where’s Darren Heath when you need him?

  8. YeaMon said on 19th March 2012, 19:44

    Shumi did this in a US GP awhile back as well after a spin. He made sure that the marshalls kept the car even, so the bottom could not be seen. He is definitely one of the best of doing those little things, regardless of criticisms he faces. To me this really shows how much of a team player his is to his engineers.

  9. Gibo (@gibo) said on 19th March 2012, 20:52

    Gotta love Schumi and his dedication, he is the real deal

  10. Cornflakes (@cornflakes) said on 19th March 2012, 21:42

    Oh dear God. Listen to 5:55 – Someone ACTUALLY asks ‘Do you know what his name is?’ and someone replies ‘Michael Schumacher’ – why would she pay that much to watch a grand prix if she’s never heard of schumi?!?!

  11. AlbertC (@albertc) said on 19th March 2012, 21:48

    Lol @ 5:54, it sounds like someone is new to F1.

  12. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 19th March 2012, 22:00

    Dedication = Schumacherism

  13. BROOKSY007 (@brooksy007) said on 19th March 2012, 22:05

    Front wing f duct!!!

    Smart thinking by MS to try to keep it hidden!

    Looking at both the mercedes starts, they were super quick! Is their drs button a two stage button? Can u half depress it for the fwfduct and fully depress it for both? Would charlie W have picked that up!!!

    I first thought of this when MS asked his team during practice if the drs could be brought in more gradually (slower)! Never heard this request before!!!

    Just a theory!!! Thoughts????

  14. Boomerang said on 19th March 2012, 22:06

    As Adrian said once: “It must be something very simple and easy to copy.” I don’t see any other reason for Michael being so prudent in hiding underside of the front wing.
    Assuming that I understand what they are doing, it’s so logical why they underperformed in the race. Heavy fuel load and lower ride height reduce the positive effects of this concept.
    On the other hand, I cannot believe that they channel the air from the rear wing to the front as some assume. There are better and simpler solutions.
    I must add that I cannot hide deep disappointment by Lotus’ team reaction. Lotus’ name in F1 was always a synonym for innovation and breakthrough designs. I’m glad they have competitive package, but I regret they have no Colin’s spirit whatsoever.

    • MattW said on 19th March 2012, 22:11

      But remember the f-duct cannot be driver activated. This way it is a ‘side effect’ of the DRS being activated ;)

      • Dave (@davea86) said on 20th March 2012, 3:40

        If it is stalling the front wing then I’m not even sure it’s a side effect. They stall the front wing to reduce the downforce and drag it produces, which is the whole point of the drag reduction system. The system is doing exactly what the name suggests.

        • MattW said on 20th March 2012, 3:50

          Misunderstood me. They definitely want to stall the front wing but cannot have the driver activating it directly… with a setup like this the action the driver is performing is activating the DRS, so they can say to Charlie Whiting “we are just activating the DRS which is allowed in the rules – that there just happens to be a duct there that feeds air to the front wing when DRS is activated *shrug shoulders* isn’t that lucky for us *wink wink nudge nudge*”

    • strictly commercial (@) said on 19th March 2012, 22:28

      I don’t think you’re being entirely fair to Lotus here. I think they’re being smart here. Why waste resources and money on developing a system that FIA might well decide to ban one day, as they’ve been known to do with some prominent recent innovations? By protesting the Mercedes they get a definitive ruling on the issue, at least that would be more difficult for FIA to back track on.

  15. Stefanauss (@stefanauss) said on 19th March 2012, 22:10

    This is why He’ll win an 8th crown, provided Mercedes gives him a good enough car. That’s the same stuff brought Ferrari from zeroes to heroes, basically.

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