2015 Spanish Grand Prix – Preview
The 2015 Formula One World Championship season continues with Round Five, the Spanish Grand Prix, held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
- Driver / Senior Management Quotes
- Lewis Hamilton
- Nico Rosberg
- Toto Wolff
- Paddy Lowe
- Silver Arrows Statistics
- Spanish Grand Prix Week: Calendar
- Featured this Week: Monza Magic with Lewis and Sir Stirling Moss
Driver / Senior Management Quotes
Bahrain was a tough race so to come away with the win was a great feeling and it’s amazing the start we’ve had this year. Next up it’s Barcelona, which is a great place to start the European phase of the season. The weather is always good and the circuit is a real test of every aspect of the car, which is why we go testing there. It’s a great city, too. The architecture is stunning and it’s a young, vibrant place so I always enjoy the weekend. Racing there is tough – it’s usually hot and the circuit is incredibly physical. But the support I have in Spain is growing every time we go and, having tasted success there for the first time last year, I want to do it in even better style this time.
The race in Bahrain was definitely the most enjoyable of the season for me so far. It was a really good fight out there and it gave me the chance to show what I can do in a close battle. Although we had a problem at the end, the car felt fantastic and I could really push hard to get my positions back. I’m feeling really fired up for the next races knowing I have all the tools available to me for a strong performance. It’s felt like a long break and I can’t wait to get back out there in Barcelona. It’s the first race in Europe at a track which every driver knows well, so it should make for an exciting weekend. The circuit itself really tests every element of the car – especially the aero – so it will be interesting to see how each team has developed since we last came here in the winter and also to see who has brought the most upgrades since the last race. I know our guys have been working mega hard at the factory, so let’s see what we’ve got!
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
After the first part of the season, the last weeks gave us the chance to judge our performance so far – and look at what we need to do to build our advantage in the next weeks and months. We scored more points in the first four races of 2015 than in 2014 and enjoyed better reliability; the team is in a very strong position. The difference is the competitive situation: in 2014, we had a lead of over 100 points in the Constructors’ Championship; this year, it’s 52 points and we are in a close battle at every race weekend. But that’s what Formula 1 is all about: accepting the challenge of performing at your best for every lap of every race weekend, and always pushing yourself to be even better. Every single team member in Brackley and Brixworth knows that we can’t afford to take our foot off the gas so we are pushing hard with developments to the car and the power unit for the coming races. Barcelona is traditionally the first race for big upgrades, so we will be interested to see how we perform relative to the competition. One area where we can be totally confident is our driver line-up: Lewis is in the zone right now, probably driving as well as he has ever done, and Nico showed his teeth in Bahrain with some forceful overtaking and a strong, aggressive race. We’re expecting more of the same in Spain.
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
It feels like a long but well-needed break since Bahrain, having barely had more than a week’s gap between events since the pre-season programme began. This has given us time to reflect, regroup and pick up on what we’ve learned in the first part of the year. We now head to the first European race, which is traditionally seen as the first major upgrade point of the season. But in practice, recent years have seen car upgrades become more of a constant and relentless campaign throughout the year. We may see a little more than usual after the three-week gap, however, so it will be interesting to see what each team brings to the table. Barcelona is one of the most demanding circuits on the calendar, testing both chassis and power unit, and it’s often said that if you’re quick here, you’ll be quick anywhere. We looked strong during winter testing – but time has passed, teams will have developed their cars significantly in the subsequent weeks and we’ll now see much warmer temperatures, so we don’t know how we’ll look until we get there. That’s part of the excitement of Formula One! We’ll have a lot of work to do on Friday to get the most out of the car and see where we stand for the weekend.
Silver Arrows Statistics
At the Spanish Grand Prix
|Silver Arrows||Lewis Hamilton||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes-Benz Power|
|Front Row Starts||5||2||2||13|
In Formula One
|Silver Arrows||Lewis Hamilton||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes-Benz Power|
|Front Row Starts||76||76||27||253|
Silver Arrows Drivers
|Name||Wins||Podiums||Pole Positions||Front Row Starts||Fastest Laps||Starts|
|J. M. Fangio||8||10||7||12||5||12|
Spanish Grand Prix Week: Calendar
Featured This Week
Monza Magic with Lewis and Sir Stirling Moss
On 11 September 2015, 60 years will have passed since Mercedes-Benz competed in its final Formula One Grand Prix before taking a hiatus of almost 40 years.
The race in question, the 1955 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, would prove a fitting end to an era which was as successful as it was brief for the Silver Arrows – Pole Position and victory going to Triple World Champion elect Juan-Manuel Fangio, with Piero Taruffi completing a one-two for the Silver Arrows and a 26-year-old Stirling Moss setting the fastest lap of the race before suffering a seventh lap retirement.
In a year which also marks the 60th anniversary of Sir Stirling’s unbeaten Mille Miglia record – an incredible time of ten hours, seven minutes and 48 seconds, averaging 157.65 km/h over the 1,000 mile route – Mercedes-Benz classic re-united Moss with the machines in which the British icon enjoyed what he himself labeled his “Greatest” year.
On a crisp, bright morning in late April, the iconic 300 SLR ‘722’ which powered Moss to that historic Mille Miglia victory lined up alongside the all-conquering W 196 R and W196 Streamliner Grand Prix Silver Arrows at the legendary Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
At the wheel of the Streamliner, the 85-year-old Moss rolled back the years in his classic light blue overalls. While in the cockpit of the Monoposto, double Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton completed an all-star Silver Arrows line-up to take on the legendary Monza banking.
For Moss, reflecting on that memorable year brought back fond memories: “1955 was, for me, the greatest year,” he says. “I think my best race was the Mille Miglia. 1,000 miles on the Italian roads which weren’t closed – there were trucks, medical vehicles, people moving around to get the best viewpoint. But the 300 SLR was, in my opinion, the greatest ever racing car and that was the decisive factor. To drive for Mercedes-Benz was very special at the time, as they were head and shoulders above the rest in every way. This was the one team that you really wanted to go to and it was an exciting time to be racing. The circuits were dangerous – some more than others, of course – and when you went into a race you were aware of the considerable danger. But you had to get yourself into a situation where you were barely lifting for this corner, or trying to take another flat. To the teams and drivers today, I would say: “Don’t think about competing – but definitely do it.” Racing improves the breed and I think, particularly for Mercedes, so many things have improved because of racing. The charisma that goes with it is enormous. To get out there, to be the best and to show it, is important for the brand.”
For Lewis, getting behind the wheel of a classic Silver Arrow was equally as evocative an experience: “Driving round the old banking in this incredible car with Sir Stirling right there below was just magical,” he enthuses. “I was shouting out to him: “Stirling! This is amazing!!” but he was so focused I don’t think he heard me! When the peak power kicks in at around 4,500 rpm there’s a big boost – it’s just a fantastic engine and the gearbox is super smooth. But it was so bumpy on the old part of the circuit and you have to be so precise with your inputs in these old cars to correct them as they move around. It must have been a real challenge to race so closely at speed. People try to compare modern day drivers to guys like Stirling but it’s just impossible. What we do today is so different with all the electronic systems and so on. Back then, it was just raw machinery and raw drivers with balls of steel – they really were supermen! There must have been such a big fear factor – exciting but also terrifying, with your heart right on the rev limiter all the time. Back then, they would set off for each race knowing there was a good chance they might not come back alive. After driving this car I got only a sense of what that must have been like. I think mentally I might have been crazy enough to race with those guys. They had a huge amount of heart to go out and do what they did. I like to think that’s been what had separated me as a driver since I was a kid.”
The two stars, past and present, took a keen interest in the relative challenges of the various racing eras; reflecting on what it takes to tame a Grand Prix winning machine: “The most modern car I’ve driven was a Tyrell in Japan in around 1995,” says Moss. “I only took it round to see what it was like but was absolutely staggered by the way, when you put your foot down, there was no wheelspin whatsoever. Is the power delivery smooth in your car?”
“That must have been with the big tyres – we have a lot of wheelspin!” Hamilton replies. “You can’t just floor it – you have to be really smooth, as there’s a lot of torque. Normally with a turbo the delivery is not so smooth but, because we have the Hybrid system, that fills in the gap and you have no lag at all. The Mercedes engine has very good driveability. It’s difficult to say whether my style would have suited the cars back in the day as I don’t really know what they needed – whether they demanded you to be smooth or aggressive. People say I’m more the latter and I like an oversteering car. What did you need to have back then?”
“Personally, I like a car set up so it will go into an oversteer situation,” Moss muses. “I think, if you can handle it, that’s definitely quicker than understeer which just sends you straight off. We didn’t have any way of changing the car during the race – it was set up in practice and then you were stuck with it. I think my style was fairly similar to Fangio’s. I followed him very closely – wherever he went on track I followed and it seemed to work out! I certainly would have changed it if I thought there was a better way of doing it. But, in that era, you just had to be a bit stupid and put your foot down!”