|Aldo Costa with Ross Brawn|
Many may be inclined to believe that it is the arrival of Lewis Hamilton, Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff to the Mercedes squad that has brought about the upsurge in the quality of times being set by the silver arrows cars. But the direction a Formula 1 team and car take are not charted in such short periods of time. The W04, that is seeming to be competitive based on preseason form, was on the design board before the exit of Norbert Haug, Michael Schumacher and before the entry of Lewis Hamilton, Niki Lauda or Toto Wolff.
The team that has been put together by Ross Brawn and Norbert Haug in consultation with Michael Schumacher, includes technical geniuses like Bob Bell, Aldo Costa and Geoff Willis. These technical gurus have a combined experience spanning numerous championships, won with teams like Williams, Red Bull Racing, Ferrari, McLaren Mercedes and Benneton / Renault.
Michael Schumacher was reported saying, “I see it more to do with the background. With the engineers and with the infrastructure of the team itself. And these steps were taken some time ago.”
Another very experienced former Formula 1 driver, Gerhard Berger agreed to the APA news agency saying that, “I don’t think those two (Lauda and Wolff) have had any influence on the performance of the car. Why? Because this car predates their time. But we must not underestimate the power of fresh wind.”
The 1996 world champion, Damon Hill, believes that the improvement in the pace of the car comes from the fact that they have had a lot more time designing it than the other front running teams have had. He was reported by the Sun as saying, “I think Ross Brawn had decided ‘Listen this year (2012) is a write off.’
“By the looks of things they’d been focusing on 2013 (during 2012) and pretty much shelved 2012. They’d looked worse than they are.” (GMM)