The Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team made its re-launch debut at the 2010 F1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, with both of its drivers scoring points for the fledgling team. Nico Rosberg finished the race in fifth place, scoring 10 points, with seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher hot on his heels in sixth place, scoring 8 points.
Having competed in Grand Prix motor racing in the 1930s, Mercedes-Benz first entered the F1 racing scene back in 1954. The team enjoyed a measure of success that season, as well as the following season, after which it withdrew from the sport, although Mercedes continued with part ownerships and supplied engines through the 1990s and into the new century.
The team is based in Brackley, Northamptonshire, UK. The CEO of the team is Nick Fry, with Ross Brawn (of former Brawn GP – winner of the 2009 Constructors championship) and Norbert Haug as team principals. The legendary Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg are the team’s drivers, with Nick Heidfeld as test driver. Interestingly, all three drivers are German.
Certainly, with the wealth of talent in the team, and the excellence of the Mercedes product, there is plenty of excitement ahead for the Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team as the Formula One Championships progress.
The German Grand Prix or the GroBer Preis von Deutschland is an automobile race that takes place yearly. After World War II, Germany was restricted from participating in any international events. This meant that the German GP only became part of the Formula One World Championships in 1951. Before that the Automobile Club of Germany had been organizing similar events since 1926. The renowned ADAC hosts a lot of other races like the second Formula One race in Germany held in 1995 at Nurburgring.
Germany put together one of the first Kaiserpreis races in 1907 at the Taunus Circuit, where entries were limited to engines with less then eight litres. Italian Felice Nazzaro won the race in his Fiat. Like the Prinz-Heinrich-Fahrt held in 1908 to 1911, these races were predecessors to the German Grand Prix. The first national event in German Grand Prix motor racing took place at the AVUS racecourse as a sports car race in southwest Berlin. The event was officially recognized in 1929. Rudolf Caracciola won the race in heavy rain.
The Grand Prix moved to the new Nurburgring track, 28-kilometre track, when it was inaugurated on the 18th of June 1927. The German Grand Prix failed to take place in 1930 and 1933 because of the country’s failing economy, but started a year later in 1934. Although there were many races taking place throughout the country, it was only the Grand Prix at Nurburgring that was considered the national Grande Epreuve, which counted toward the European Championships.
Meanwhile a new track was being built at Dresden, called the Deutschlandring, and it was to be the host of the 1940 German Grand Prix, but this never happened because of World War II. Hockenheimring has become the German Grand Prix’s permanent location since 1977, except for 1985 when the race took place at the new 4.5km Nurburgring. With the success of Michael Schumacher on the international Formula One scene, the Nurburgring track became the venue for a second annual Formula One race in Germany. The first event, called the European Grand Prix, or as it is also known, the Luxembourg Grand Prix, took place in 1995.
Setting out plans for the future of F1 racing in Germany, in 2006 it was announced that the German Grand Prix would take place at Nurburgring in 2007 and 2009, with Hockenheimring hosting the event in 2008 and 2010. The 2010 German Grand Prix has been scheduled for 23-25 July, although there is an element of uncertainty as to whether it will take place, with high F1 licensing costs and problems in resolving issues with Bernie Ecclestone being cited as reasons for possible withdrawal as hosts. Despite the obstacles, the 2010 German Grand Prix was included in the F1 season schedule.
The Hockenheimring, or Hockenheimring Baden-Wurttemberg, is located near the town of Hockenheim, situated in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. This circuit is the host to the Formula One German Grand Prix, and many other racing events.
The Hockenheimring was constructed in the Rhine Valley in 1932, and was built due to the closing of the Wildpark-Circuit that was located in Karlsruhe, by German Officials. In its early years, the Hockenheimring Circuit was used for motorcycle races, but in 1936 it became a test track for Auto Union and for Mercedes-Benz. The circuit was renamed to Kurpfalzring in 1938, but the name only lasted until the year 1947 before reverting to its original name. Grand Prix motorcycle racing was held here after the war, alternating between Hockenheim and other racing circuits.
Originally, Hockenheimring consisted of an eight kilometer track, that had two long straights, with a U-turn and an outstretched eastern corner running through the forest and joining the two straights together. The Autobahn A6 separated the main part of the track from the village in 1965, and it brought about the construction of the “Motodrom” stadium and a new Hockenheimring Circuit version. Crash barriers and two chicanes were added after Jim Clark had a fatal accident in a Formula 2 race in the year 1968. An additional chicane was added in 1980, to the Ostkurve, after another driver, Patrick Depailler, lost his life.
Formula One Officials requested that the Hockenheimring circuit be shortened in 2000, as the track was 6.8 kilometers, and gave the state government of Baden-Wurttemberg an ultimatum that either the circuit must be shortened, or they would move the event to another circuit. The state government received financing and commissioned Hermann Tilke to redesign the circuit before the 2002 German Grand Prix. The redesign had most of the stadium section remain the same, except for a much tighter corner in Turn 1 and new surfacing. The circuit was shortened to the extreme, which cut off the entire forest section and replaced it with more tight corners. The tight hairpin corner that was added to follow a long straight, has presented drivers with another opportunity for overtaking. A large stand that is sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, gives the Hockenheimring Circuit a spectator capacity of 120,000. It also has a quarter-mile track that hosts drag racing, with the Nitro Olympics being the biggest event in Europe.
The German Grand Prix was hosted by the Hockenheimring Circuit for the first time in 1970, and from 1971 to 1976 the German Grand Prix was hosted by Nurburgring. During the years 1977 to 2006, the German Grand Prix moved back to the Hockenheimring Circuit, with the exception of 1985. It was decided that from 2007, starting with Nurburgring, the German Grand Prix will alternate between Nurburgring and the Hockenheimring Circuit.
The German Grand Prix was perhaps one of the most unexpected races of the season. The surprising part wasn’t that Lewis Hamilton took the winner’s trophy, it was that the Ferrari Team performed dismally, with Massa only just managing to scrape together a third place.
It is a well-known fact that while Formula One Racing might be considered to be a science, with the performance of carefully tuned high performance vehicles being improved year after year by small scientific discoveries, it is really the art of driving that makes the biggest difference between a good race and a great race. The sport is physically and mentally challenging for the driver and it takes endurance, fitness, alertness and, most of all, skill to run a good race to the finish. For years now Ferrari has been dominating the sport, taking home one winner’s trophy after the next and maintaining a seemingly vice-like grip on the “Constructors Title.” They had the best drivers, the best cars and won the most races. But lately it seems they have hit a giant oil slick in their racing strategies. The cars are not performing the way they should and the drivers are not racing to their fullest potential. It is sad to see, but it gives other teams a chance to truly shine. And that was exactly what happened at the German Grand Prix this weekend.
In the beginning Raikkonen seemed to have the fastest car on the track and he was doing well. Light rain brought into question the use of tires better suited to the conditions and Team Ferrari chose not to put on new wet intermediates. The decision was strongly disputed and in the end it proved to be Raikkonen’s downfall. The result was that other teams such as Honda and McLaren could push to the front. By the end of the race all eyes were on Lewis Hamilton whose McLaren Mercedes car was screaming around the track in first place, after carefully climbing his way forward. Being able to take home the win in his home country must have only added to the joy Hamilton experienced at the event. The 23-year-old was clearly ecstatic and critics are wondering if they are going to see this youth blossom into one of the greatest drivers Formula One has ever seen. However, the fact remains that since other first class drivers such as Raikkonen and Massa were out of the picture, it is hard to tell exactly how he would perform against these more seasoned drivers if they were driving at their peak. Only time will tell exactly how good a driver he has the potential to become.
Rubens Barrichello also made good use of the rain, managing to climb the overall ranks somewhat during the course of the race. In the end it was Nelson Piquet for Renault who took second, and Felipe Massa of Ferrari who took third. The three were followed by Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) and Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren Mercedes) respectively.