Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Rosberg to drive instead of Hamilton this morning

2016 F1 season

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Mercedes has changed the running plan for its drivers over the next two days of testing due to the high mileage the team has covered so far at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Lewis Hamilton was due to spend another full day in the car today but will now take over in the afternoon after Nico Rosberg completes the morning running. Tomorrow, which was going to be a full day for Rosberg, will now see Hamilton drive in the evening and Rosberg return in the afternoon.

Mercedes stated on Twitter the reason for the change was due to “the unprecedented mileage levels seen thus far in Barcelona”.

“We want to keep our boys in top shape for Melbourne,” added the team.

Hamilton drove 726.18 kilometres on Monday, equivalent to over two-and-one-third race distances, at a track which features several high-speed corners with significant G-loadings. Rosberg went even further yesterday, covering 800.66km, approximately two-and-a-half grand prix distances.

Between them the Mercedes pair have covered 1526.84km, almost 500km more than the next busiest team, Williams, on 1033.41km.

Mercedes also revised its testing programme at the same track 12 months ago, when test driver Pascal Wehrlein was drafted in on two occasions to substitute for Hamilton and Rosberg.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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26 comments on “Rosberg to drive instead of Hamilton this morning”

  1. Mercedes stated on Twitter the reason for the change was due to “the unprecedented mileage levels seen thus far in Barcelona

    We know that to be not true as Lewis said on day 1 that Paddy said they planned on doing 700,800 or 900KM a day. From what I hear it’s just so both Lewis & Nico get equal time in the new car while testing certain part and while driving a certain program, why doesn’t Mercedes just come out and say that?

    1. @woodyd91 It can also be to avoid their drivers to turn crazy. That’s not the funniest part for a driver and I guess it’s better for their moral to share days rather than getting a full days of turning around at delta speed.

    2. @woodyd91 Lewis said that he was feeling the strain on his body after so many months without driving, and just in 1 day covering almost 800 kms. Seem logical to me. It’s been a very very long winter break, and with less testing days than before, they need to run as much as possible, and surely the drivers get the worst part.

    3. I wonder if planning to do that mileage is one thing and then actually having to wait and see if both drivers were able to do said planned mileage, which has become the case, has meant they have had to do a planned driver alteration now that their best-case scenario has happened. I don’t think they need to explain any more that both their drivers get an equal opportunity on the team. They’ve proven that.

  2. It was stated that the reason was “the unprecedented mileage levels seen thus far in Barcelona”. I have 2 question following this statement.

    Firstly Hamilton. He covered 156 laps. Huge! Mega athlete to do that. I mean these guys are dripping sweat afte one race distance, let alone 156 laps. However Rosberg covered 172 laps yesterday. And now he is covering for Hamilton this morning as well. The question I ask is whether Hamilton’s desire is still there? Rosberg certainly looks to have the desire. Normally it wouldn’t peak my interest too much, but the whole discussion at the end of last year after Rosberg started beating him was whether he had tapered off in desire. Everyone said he would come back strong next year. Discussion?

    Secondly, Why the heck are they doing so many miles. Yes, Yes, Reliability. To win a race, first you must finish. However, no-one else is doing anything like those kind of miles. Are they just focussing on reliability over performance? Do they think they are that far ahead that they don’t need to test new components? Arrogance, or have they run out of design ideas. Surely at the first test, you bring new components and test them. Then you refine them before the next test and focus on reliability.

    I see a few things from testing so far. It is only day 2, but I like what I see. Firstly I have a sneaking suspicion that Merc will lose ground to the others. Their car will still be the benchmark, but it won’t have 1-1.5 seconds up it’s sleeve.

    Ferrari. They are looking confident and Vettel is looking confident. Both exciting prospects. It looks like their engine may go close to matching the Merc this year. If the car gets better and the drivers feel confident, then it is game on. Vettel may have his detractors, but when he is performing well and confident, he is hard to beat.

    Red Bull. I feel these guys are the dark horse this year. The Renault/Tag Heuer engine looks like it won’t blow up every race and is certain to gain on the Ferrari and Merc engines. It won’t be a match though. Even by the end of the year. However, RBR are arguably the best car designers out there. A lot was made of the crap Renault Engine last year, but RBR also designed a poor car by their standards. The drivers didn’t feel confident in it and it was hard to set up. Their performance improved by the end of the year as the problems were ironed out. RBR are my dark horse this year. It is easy to believe they may design the best car this year and it may make up for any engine deficiencies. Title contenders? No. Race win contenders? I bet they are.

    Williams. It is sad to say that I feel they will fall back this year. They just don’t have the resources to compete. Their recent form improve was based on good car design, but mostly excellent engine. The engine performance will be less important this year.

    Force India. Hmm. Title contenders. No. Race win contenders? Maybe if the winds blow right. Good drivers and they have consistently designed OK cars. This year, they seem to have less money problems which means their design cycle is already 6 months in front of where it was last year.

    McLaren. I only mention these guys because of the budget and history they have. Mid field at best at the start, but will get better. Might beat Williams a few times at the end of the year.

    1. I think you are reading a bit too much into it.

      1. You are definitely right. However I am starved of info in the off season and excited that this year might deliver a more even competition. I can’t help but comment. Bring on Melbourne!

    2. @mickharrold

      However Rosberg covered 172 laps yesterday. And now he is covering for Hamilton this morning as well. The question I ask is whether Hamilton’s desire is still there?

      Rosberg seems to mainly be doing aero work this morning which is a lot less strenuous for a driver than long stints – basically just pointing the car in a straight line where possible at a set speed.

      1. Yeah, but Rosberg drove yesterday. Hamilton has had a day off to rest. If it is so easy to do Aero, why can’t Hamilton just do a full day of it after his rest day? Why does he need a guy who drove 172 laps yesterday to cover for him?

        1. why can’t Hamilton just do a full day of it after his rest day?

          Who says he can’t? He isn’t, but that is not the same thing and maybe your confusing the two is the reason you have issues with Mercedes statement?

          However Rosberg covered 172 laps yesterday

          As Keith’s comment points out you cannot just use raw lap count to decide how strenuous a particular drivers workload is. Maybe Rosberg had the harder first day, maybe Hamilton did. I wasn’t there I don’t know. Frankly it is irrelevant as all Mercedes have said is that they are splitting the final days to keep their drivers in “top shape”. We don’t know what they have planned for the rest of this test, or the next test or even whether there are any issues with the drivers right now. It sounds more preventative than corrective.

          Maybe either driver could have driven this morning, but they looked at their test plan and split it to give each driver an equal amount of time doing roughly the same work in the car, and that so happened to mean that Rosberg took the morning shift?

          And now he is covering for Hamilton this morning as well

          “Covering” implies Hamilton couldn’t run this morning, as pointed out we don’t actually know that is the case so this is pretty meaningless.

          The question I ask is whether Hamilton’s desire is still there

          How do you know Hamilton had any say in todays running order?

          Rosberg certainly looks to have the desire

          How do you know Rosberg had any say in todays running order?

          Discussion?

          It is testing. It is far to early to make judgements like that, at least as outsiders.

          1. OK, your points are valid. We don’t now the full picture here. Until we get to the finish of Melbourne or later, we won’t have a full picture. For the record, I like Hamilton and Rosberg equally, although Hamilton is the better driver. You seem like a died in the wool Hamilton fan.

            Yes, we don’t know how strenuous Lewis’s first day was. However we can assume that given a rest day, he is in better shape than Rosberg who did more laps only 12 hours ago, even if they were less strenuous.

            What is fact here is that Merc is pushing their drivers to the limit. Or clearly past it in this case. Which leads me to my second point in my first post. Why are they doing so many laps? No-one else is doing that kind of mileage. And it isn’t because they aren’t trying. It’s because they don’t want to. No-one in the history of F1 has probably ever tried to do that many laps in one day. (Happy to be proven wrong). Heck, I know nothing like the rest of us about their reasons. Hamilton might be asking the same questions right now though.

            My guess is because they are focussing on reliability. That is an admirable focus as long as you are also focusing on performance as well. My gut feeling is that this may not be the case, but that is massively speculative and has minimal founding in facts.

        2. And now he is covering for Hamilton this morning as well

          So does that mean that Hamilton is covering for Rosberg when he does this afternoon and tomorrow morning? There is reading too much into things and then there is this, It’s like I’m listening to Ted Kravitz on Sky again.

          The question I ask is whether Hamilton’s desire is still there

          What evidence has been shown that it isn’t?

          Rosberg certainly looks to have the desire

          Based on what evidence?

          why can’t Hamilton just do a full day of it after his rest day?

          He has no real say when he drives the car unless it’s because he is unwell and is unable to. The team say when a driver is driving and when they aren’t

          However Rosberg covered 172 laps yesterday

          As the team would have told him to, as they would of told Hamilton to do 156.

          Do they think they are that far ahead that they don’t need to test new components? Arrogance, or have they run out of design ideas.

          They are testing new bits, so not really sure what this is about, they spent the first day testing the system in the car then yesterday they tried a different floor, the have a new nose and as Toto said some “unusual bits” to test as well.

          Surely at the first test, you bring new components and test them. Then you refine them before the next test and focus on reliability

          As they are doing.

          Secondly, Why the heck are they doing so many miles.

          Because they want to test the engine to destruction basically.

    3. I hope you’re right but I fear Mercedes had still lots in hand. If only Ferrari gets the upper hand in qualifying…

      1. @mick-harrold I would suggest why so much mileage is because as it turns out they can so why not, and they have a plan with their drivers to achieve it, and it is all good data they can use. It is not about reliability vs. performance like they can only work on one or the other. With this mileage will come knowledge as to parts wear which in turn will teach them how much they can crank up performance knowing certain components will handle it.

    4. Let’s forget the Hamilton discussion. What about looking at my prediction for Williams, Force India and Red Bull and McLaren. Any thoughts. I really feel Red Bull could have a big comeback this year.

  3. Lewisham Milton
    24th February 2016, 8:37

    Lewis should continue testing today, but drive anti-clockwise to balance out the G-loadings.

  4. Lewis probably hasn’t got back from a party in the US yet so wants Nico to cover the morning.

  5. Lewis is hungover and their B driver had to cover for him.

  6. Racing hasn’t started yet, and the Lewis Conspiracy Detectives are already coming out of hibernation.

    Must have been a long winter!

  7. I haven’t heard anyone else moaning about aches and pains. Whilst I applaud Hamilton for breaking the mould and looking for his groove, it no doubt takes its toll. Seems he should have been doing a few more push-ups over the last couple of months. All the better for us Tifosi ;)

  8. Over doing it at the Mobile world congress?

  9. I was gonna be rude and say… Less party more gym Lewis…

    But then i figured… when i drive 800km my ass hurts, my legs are about to fall off, my right foot is dangling… my arms are about to chirp away… well my neck is usually ok, but I do 0.1-0.4g on the highway…

    Better not be too rude then and shut up.

    I will say 172 laps in one day, stories around are, that they are in near Melbourne spec already.. so they are driving as much as they can to spot ANY weakness. and so far… they found fewer than expected. By the time tests will be over, they will have driven a Le Mans distance at this rate. Pretty impressive, and most probably on a single engine.

    That being said, all engines seem reliable these days. Even Honda. So they seem in the grove, flaunting everyone… “Look we don’t even need to do aero tests, we know the car works… does not break down.. come get some!”

    By the time tests are over they will know engine can do 8-9 race distances, balance is good, and potentially they will have an insanely good tire behaviour database. Only weakness of this approach is driver fatigue. They are right to react to that. Imagine the backlash if Lewis strained his neck and was unable to compete in Melburne at 100%. Neck injuries take weeks-months to heal. If he misses 1 race title could go to Nico Rosberg… While if he misses 1 test morning chances are there will be no effect at all.

  10. before every season ppl question lewis desire.

    1. …… and at the end of the season, having won drivers and constructors championships, they still question his desire.

      It’s a no win situation!

    2. And at the end of the season, having won drivers and constructors championships, they still question his desire.

      It’s a no win situation!

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