Saturday, March 16, 2013

Engine Blood Team Profile: Mercedes

(Note: we here at Atomic Sourpuss were too drunk to remember that the F1 season has essentially already started, so expect today to be a Blood-heavy day on the blog, as we desperately try to get through the team profiles in time to get a table at the Ship and Mitre.  Enjoy...  Or don't.)

ESTABLISHED: This is not an easy one.  1954, for Mercedes in the F1 World Championship, but this team started in 2010 from the ashes of Brawn GP, which was plucked from the wreckage of Honda, which itself subsumed British American Racing, which spung from the once-mighty Tyrrell team - and THAT was formed in 1958, one year after the original Mercedes team withdrew!

HISTORY: Christ, which bit?  Let's limit ourselves to very recent history: Honda withdrew from F1, but Ross Brawn managed to convince everyone that the next year's car would have been competitive; difficult when the 2008 Honda had been a total dog.  Due to smart rule exploitation, they wound up winning the World Championship, causing engine supplier Mercedes to fall out of love with McLaren and throw themselves behind this team.  Thus far, it doesn't look a smart move, but that could be about to change.

10. L'il LEWIS (GB)

With Nick Heidfeld out of the way, we needed a solid but unspectacular German driver - but let's be fair, Nico's had his moments, not least his win in China last year.  When you consider that the Mercedes package has been a bit of a disappointment thus far, we must grudgingly admit we probably haven't seen the best of him thus far.  I suppose we're just upset that he's not as good as his dad.

What more can we say about Lewis Hamilton that we haven't already said?  Not Engine Blood's favourite driver by a long chalk, the admittedly fast youngster has never learned to overtake and controversy dogs his every (botched) move, whilst he bitches to his hangers-on, blames his team for his own mistakes and lords it around like he's P Diddy or something.  Nevertheless, his defection from McLaren was the big story in an otherwise largely settled driver market, and will be a source of interest this year.

2012 PERFORMANCE: 5th place, 142 points.

Nico ROSBERG (GER): 9th, 93 points. Best finish: 1st, China
Michael SCHUMACHER (GER): 13th, 49 points. Best finish: 3rd, Europe

Mercedes flattered to deceive in the early races, looking like real contenders and taking their maiden win...  Well, in this phase of the team's chequered history, anyway.  But whilst Rosberg was getting the car home, Schumacher suffered an absolutely horrendous string of mechanical failures, finally topped off by an entirely self-caused collision with the Lesser Senna, leading to a grid penalty at the next race.

That race was Monaco and Schumacher got pole - except he didn't, obviously - which summed up his frustrating final year in Formula One.  Yes, he wasn't the force he used to be, but what could he have done with a better car?  For better or worse, we'll never know.  Mercedes' fortunes in general nosedived towards the end of the season and they were deservedly elbowed out of the big four by Lotus.

2013 PROSPECTS: Intriguing driver pairing and some good early pace, but can they keep Ham-Ham interested?  Perhaps the mechanics can jangle their keys for him.

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