Ross Brawn says aero staff changes were key to Mercedes' F1 slump

Ross Brawn believes that mid-season changes in Mercedes' Formula 1 aerodynamic department were the root cause of the team's slump in form during the second half of 2012

Ross Brawn says aero staff changes were key to Mercedes' F1 slump

Mercedes, which took over the world champion Brawn squad in late 2009, scored its first F1 race win as a constructor since 1955 when Nico Rosberg dominated the Chinese Grand Prix from pole position.

By the halfway point of 2012, Rosberg lay sixth in the championshp, only 34 points behind Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

But the squad's form suffered during the second half of the year, Rosberg eventually trailing world champion Vettel by 189 points and Michael Schumacher's sixth place in Brazil its only points finish from the final six grands prix.

Team principal Brawn said that the departure of head of aerodynamics Loic Bigois, coupled with a change in windtunnel philosophy while the team experimented with Coanda exhausts and double DRS, also played a major influence.

Brawn said: "We made a decision to change the structure of the aero group. We had to wait for [new aero chief] Mike Elliot to join us because we had a notice period he had to fulfil at Lotus.

"We concluded the situation with Loic and there was a gap that we didn't fill very well."

"On top of that we were doing the transition from 50 per cent to 60 per cent models in the windtunnel, and there were a lot of other things in the aero group as well. It did have an impact."

Brawn said that the shift to 60 per cent models was necessary to increase the amount of technical data it could extract from Pirelli's tyres.

"Our conclusion was that we would get a much more representative tyre at 60 per cent than at 50 per cent," he added.

"Pirelli have to make 50 per cent and 60 per cent windtunnel tyres. There are only two teams that are still doing 50 per cent.

"Even with Pirelli's best efforts, they're going to be getting better feedback about 60 per cent tyres than 50 per cent. So we wanted to make the move.

"The other thing that has happened over the years is that you're putting more and more equipment inside the windtunnel model to measure, monitor and check. We just ran out of space in the 50 per cent model.

"There were things that we wanted to do that we couldn't do, and we needed the 60 per cent model to accommodate those features. Sixty per cent is the legal limit you can go to, there is no further step we can make."

shares
comments
Mark Webber says Red Bull success impossible without Adrian Newey
Previous article

Mark Webber says Red Bull success impossible without Adrian Newey

Next article

Best features of 2012: Taki Inoue on his F1 career

Best features of 2012: Taki Inoue on his F1 career
Load comments
The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Plus

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

What the FIA must do to restore F1’s credibility Plus

What the FIA must do to restore F1’s credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins Plus

The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, Autosport picks out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1 Plus

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Autosport on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022