Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2013

MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS 2013 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW-

The 2013 Formula One championship gets underway in Melbourne this week with the first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix, held at the Albert Park circuit in the city. For MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS, 2013 sees an exciting new driver pairing with Lewis Hamilton joining the team to partner Nico Rosberg at the wheel of the Silver Arrows cars.

The Safety Car has been deployed in six of the last ten races in Melbourne – including four of the last five

– Mercedes-Benz power has won four of the past five Australian Grands Prix

– 60% of Australian Grand Prix winners in the past decade have gone on to become World Champion

Nico Rosberg
Melbourne is a great place to kick off the new Formula One season. I really like the city and the Australian fans at the circuit are always fantastic and so supportive. The first Grand Prix is where everyone finds out where they really are and we can judge how well we have done against our competition as the times in winter testing just don´t tell the full story. The weather in Melbourne looks very hot at the moment which is going to be a tough challenge as we have no experience with the F1 W04 in those conditions. Tyre degradation will be the biggest issue for everyone so we need to look at that carefully and do a good job in managing it. I´m really looking forward to next weekend and getting the season underway.

Lewis Hamilton
It´s the start of a new season and the beginning of a new adventure for me with MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS. I can´t wait to get to Melbourne, get out on track and find out where we stand. The Australian Grand Prix is always an exciting race: the teams don´t know how they compare in terms of performance, the fans are fantastic and, with big changes to the tyres again this year, we just don´t know what will happen in the race. I love the circuit. It´s a street track with a really bumpy surface so you try and put as much downforce on the car as possible and it really puts the drivers to the test. We had a good, reliable car during winter testing so that´s the positive we can take with us into the weekend but we know that in terms of performance, everything begins again from zero in Friday practice. So let´s get Down Under, get racing and see how things turn out.

Ross Brawn
The start of a new Formula One season is always an intense but exciting time for the team. Our factories in Brackley and Brixworth have been buzzing with activity with both Nico and Lewis visiting to complete their final preparations on the simulator, and the team working to finish the cars, engines and pack the freight for the four flyaway races coming up. The first race is where we can really begin to assess our competitive position and how much of a step forward we have made with our new Silver Arrow. We had a successful pre-season testing programme and personally, I am pleased with the progress we have made, both with the car and in terms of how we operate as a team. However, testing is simply that; racing is a completely different situation and Melbourne will see much higher track temperatures and more varied conditions than we have experienced so far. We´re looking forward to the challenge and to the action starting in Melbourne next weekend.

Toto Wolff
When it comes to starting a new season, it´s only facts that count – everything else is simply speculation. The facts are that we had a good winter test programme, completed the second highest mileage of any team and made some good progress. Lewis and Nico are working well together and there is a positive dynamic in the team, from the factory to the track. So we head to Australia well prepared. But we know, too, that we will be running in very different temperatures, on a different track surface and that every team will have to finally lay their cards on the table in qualifying on Saturday. Only then can we have a first indication of where we stand in terms of performance. It may sound clichéd but our goal is simply to perform as well as possible. We know that we must go forward from last season and we are proud to be representing Mercedes-Benz on the global stage. Now we have to live up to that standard.

GP3

Neiderhauser barca 2013

NEIDERHAUSER FASTEST ON FINAL BARCA TEST-

Jenzer Motorsport’s Patric Niederhauser fastest in second official pre-season test
 
Swiss driver Patric Niederhauser set a blistering laptime of 1:33.750 which was an impressive 4.2 seconds faster than the best GP3 lap set at the Circuit de Catalunya in 2012. It was another trouble-free test session in Barcelona with the second generation car as the full grid of 27 drivers fought with the mixed weather conditions. Aaro Vainio was quickest in the afternoon for Koiranen GP.
 
Melville McKee replaced Lewis Williamson at Bamboo Engineering which was the only change to the line-up for day two. The first hour of the test was frenetic as the drivers fed onto the track eager to make the most of dry running before the expected rain fell. Jenzer Motorsport made it a one-two with Niederhauser and Alex Fontana topping the timesheets early on with drivers unable to improve as the heavens opened.
 
Jack Harvey stopped on track in his ART Grand Prix car with technical gremlins whilst Nick Cassidy (Marussia Manor Racing) clipped the barrier which caused brief red flags. Carmen Jorda (Bamboo Engineering) and Emanuele Zonzini (Trident) spun off into the gravel trap as the rain pounded down which caused two short interruptions at the close of the morning session.
 
Niederhauser’s quickest time was almost half a second faster than his teammate Fontana with Tio Ellinas (Marussia Manor Racing), Cassidy, Giovanni Venturini (Trident), Daniil Kvyat (MW Arden), Harvey, Facu Regalia (ART Grand Prix), Dino Zamparelli (Marussia Manor Racing) and Conor Daly (ART Grand Prix) rounding out the top ten at the chequered flag.
 
Heavy rain hammered down and the temperature dropped as the afternoon session got underway as the drivers wrestled with the wet conditions. There were a number of red flags in the afternoon session which included Josh Webster, Regalia, Samin Gomez, Zonzini, McKee and Daly who had minor offs as the treacherous weather continued to cause drivers a headache. Daly held top spot in the standings with the Koiranen GP duo of Kevin Korjus and Aaro Vainio second and third as the drivers concentrated on wet weather set-up.
 
Carlos Sainz Jnr (MW Arden) went into the tyre barrier at turn three which had been problematic for a number of drivers, thus causing significant damage to his car which brought the red flag out. In the final part of the session Vainio shot to P1 with Harvey into P2.  Harvey ran off track at the end of the session which meant the session ended under red flag conditions. Therefore Vainio remained at the head of the timings in front of Harvey, Daly, Korjus, Eric Lichtenstein, Regalia, Venturini, Jimmy Eriksson (Status Grand Prix), Nick Yelloly (Carlin) and Zamparelli.
 
Patric Niederhauser commented: “I have so much fun driving the second generation car, it’s very challenging. The speed differential between the GP3/13 and GP3/10 car is immense and I feel there are still improvements to come within the car set-up as this is only the second test. Driver skill is really tested as you have to adapt your driving style to suit the needs and the power of the machine. Fast corners are much trickier to control. Tyre management is even more important this year and it’s the perfect preparation to learn and progress to GP2 and Formula 1.”
 
The final official pre-season test takes place at Silverstone on 03-04 April before the first round gets underway in May at Barcelona.