• Mercedes news

Mercedes adapts car for Schumacher

ESPNF1 Staff
April 26, 2010 « New F1 engine agreement close | »

Mercedes is modifying its 2010 car to better suit Michael Schumacher's driving style.

While the seven-time world champion has struggled with the W01 on his return to the sport, team-mate Nico Rosberg is second in the world championship after finishing on the podium at the last two grands prix.

But team boss Ross Brawn is worried about the car's basic characteristics.

"Our car does not have enough front downforce," he told The Times. "New regulations have made the front tyres narrower, which means you need to generate more downforce at the front than before. Michael needs to be able to lean heavily on the front of the car to make his driving style work."

The front of the car has therefore been the focus of Mercedes' big upgrade for Barcelona, featuring a longer wheelbase.

"We've got a modification of the car coming for Barcelona which puts us into a better range for the weight distribution we can achieve," Brawn confirmed.

He added that Schumacher will be using a different chassis tub after damaging his original one at the first four races.

"It's not a new chassis per se, it's a chassis we used in testing," Brawn said. "The one he had got damaged during the first few races and we repaired it as best we could at the races. But now we are back at base we are going to reintroduce the test chassis and he will be using that in Barcelona."

But three-time champion Niki Lauda, who won his final title after returning to the sport from retirement, thinks it should be up to Schumacher to adapt to the car.

"He must change his driving style as quickly as possible," he told Blick newspaper. "The new Formula One with the much narrower front tyres obviously surprised him, while Rosberg has had no problems and is doing a sensational job."