Mercedes conducts full test at Barcelona with W03

Mercedes has conducted a full day of ‘proper’ testing in private at Barcelona with the new W03 today.

Between them Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher logged over 300kms of running.

It follows a filming or shakedown day at Silverstone last Thursday. But while that was conducted on Pirelli’s demo tyres, today’s test was a pukka test day on race rubber, and there were no mileage restrictions.

In effect the team has gone some way to catching up with rival teams who finished their cars on a normal schedule, and ran at Jerez earlier this month.

Mercedes planned some time ago to use the old car in Jerez, giving itself almost two weeks of extra R&D time before key elements of the W03 were finalised. It also allowed the team to make extra use of ex-Ferrari designer Aldo Costa, who only joined on December 1.

It’s also been suggested that the team wanted to keep a few secrets under wraps for as long as possible.

Although the reduced running with the new car is obviously a handicap – with only the two four day tests at Barcelona still to come – Mercedes won back an extra day with the W03 by using only three of the four available days at Jerez with the old car.

Under the testing agreement, missing that day earned the team a private test, which it utilised today – with no prying eyes and no red flags caused by others to disrupt running.

The team now has all of Monday to work on the car and crunch the data collected today before running again on Tuesday with the rest of the teams – which means it should be in pretty good shape when it joins its rivals…

19 Comments

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19 responses to “Mercedes conducts full test at Barcelona with W03

  1. Mick

    A bit of Ross Brawn’s strategic genius.

  2. The fine line between (strategic) genius and cheating… ;)

    • Monikin

      Agree with both, definitely Braun’s style… Really hope they get very competitive this year, not a Schumi fan at all, but I do respect his achievements and absolutely love Braun’s habit to make things different.

    • Frank Hodgson

      It seems not cheating, if the rules are that you gain a day of private testing for every one that you miss in the normal tests.

      But, it poses the question – why doesn’t everyone do this?
      My only explanations are the obvious extra costs of hiring a track, which might stop teams on a tight budget, but that’s pretty small compared with the amount they spend on aero. Also, the ability to compare to the other teams is valuable at an organised test – but then you hear everyone saying that the times actually don’t matter at the early tests.

      Any other reasons not to take the Mercedes strategy?

      • Stone the crows

        They don’t do it because it is still preferable to run your new car for all of the testing. Braun has rolled the dice on this one, if the W03 proves competetive and has no reliablity issues then he’s a genious, if they have teething problems, bad weather, equipment failures or a crash, they could be in a lot of trouble, with not enough time to get their necessary testing done. We shall see.

  3. Jacques

    Any idea how many laps they did?

  4. eddie fryett

    ross brawn doesnt make these clever decisions for fun.
    absolute tactical,strategic genius as usual

  5. chris cassingham

    That is such great planning on Mercedes’ part. I really hope this pays off in the end. They deserve a great year!

  6. Surb

    Strategical genius at work. Reminds me of the Ferrari days- who knows: Anyone for MercGP P1 Australia?

  7. Adam S.

    Don’t know if it is the different build up, the expectation or a bit of hype, but I’m getting a bit excited about Mercedes GP this year. Definitely a quiet air of expectation…

  8. Halldór

    It´s pure genius. I´m certain we will see much better and faster Mercedes team this year. Can´t wait for Australia!

  9. Stone the crows

    I suspect this little loop hole that Ross is exploiting will be closed in the not so distant future.

  10. Nathan

    It’s just a typical Schumacher-Brawn stunt “very smart” if you ask me. I wouldn’t be too worried about missing out on the first test. First off they would have been able to collect valuable data even by running the old car, if not just for the new tyres. They only missed 3 days testing and any teething problems they may have can easily be put right during free practice in the first few Grand Prix of the year. They fact they have been able to keep the design of the car out of any possible prying eyes for an extra 3 or so weeks could prove way more valuable than those 3 days missed testing.

  11. Raelene

    you know this isn’t the first time a team has done this… so not sure why the “cheating”comment was there…

  12. Love Brawn’s well considered tactical approach this year. I got the feeling that the Merc team were on the back foot from their inception until mid last season. I reckon they’ve drawn a line and will make solid progress this year. Now that they’ve re-enforced their leadership ranks, Brawn will be able to stand back and pull the strings as he did at ferrari.

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