On March 6 McLaren and Mercedes will enter the eleventh season of their partnership at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. The preparations were dominated by substantial changes to the rules, some of which were at rather short notice. The engine-specific requirements are more stringent than ever before, as the engines must now cover twice the previous mileage according to an October 2004 rule change for the 2005 season. The new Mercedes-Benz FO110R V10 engine has been running on the test benches since autumn 2004 – and the assignment for the engineers was to sacrifice no output compared to the preceding model.
The rule changes also affected the specifications of our partner McLaren during the design of the new Formula 1 car. Since May 2004 roughly 3600 hours have been spent on development work in the wind tunnel for the West McLaren Mercedes MP4-20, which is made up of around 10,800 components. It differs markedly from its predecessor. Apart from engine operating life, this complex technical package was influenced by changes in the rules relating to tyre life and restrictions on aerodynamic measures. There is also a new schedule for racing weekends, with changes to the qualifying system.
The aerodynamic changes prescribed by the new technical rules are the most immediately apparent. They include a 50-millimetre-higher front wing, the diffuser height limited to 125 millimetres and a 150-millimetre forward relocation of the rear wing. Our technology partner Michelin was presented with the task of developing tyres which would last the entire distance of the race. The most obvious aspect of the new competition rules is the two-part qualifying system. In future the first part will take place on the Saturday from 1 to 2 p.m., and the second part only from 10 to 11 a.m. on the Sunday, i.e. only four hours before the start of the race. The two qualifying times will be added together and determine the positions in the starting line-up.
On January 24 the new MP4-20 was first put through its paces in Barcelona with Kimi Räikkönen (25) at the wheel. In addition to the Finn, the team has a new driver in the form of Juan Pablo Montoya (29). Both drivers have proved their mettle during the last two seasons: Kimi Räikkönen has won two Grand Prix, the first in 2003 at the Malaysian Grand Prix. In that year in which he was runner-up in the driver's World Championship in the West McLaren Mercedes he was just three points short of winning the Formula 1 title. The Columbian Montoya has achieved four Formula 1 victories to date. Alexander Wurz (31) and Pedro de la Rosa (34) will continue to support the team as test drivers, and in this season their testing activities will be supplemented with another component: by virtue of last year’s World Championship ranking, the team will be entitled to field a third vehicle for test purposes during Friday training, and this will be driven by one of these two team members.
A further change has taken place at the top of the DaimlerChrysler subsidiary Mercedes-Ilmor, where the Swede Ola Kaellenius (36) was appointed Managing Director on December 9, 2004. Mercedes-Ilmor is responsible for the design, development and production of Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 engines. DaimlerChrysler currently holds 85 percent of the stock, and by the end of 2005 Mercedes-Ilmor will become a wholly-owned DaimlerChrysler subsidiary.
Norbert Haug, the Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, explains: "From 2005, Formula 1 has a large number of new challenges for all the technicians, as well as more significant changes and restrictions than anything seen during the last decade. The operating mileage of engines has been doubled by a rule change which stipulates that engines may only be replaced every other race. This change was made extremely late, which increased the burden on the engine specialists all the more because they were under strict instructions not to sacrifice any output despite this doubled operating life. The new rules concerning aerodynamic restrictions and the use of only one set of tyres per race are no less demanding, which means that our team of chassis technicians had a no less interesting and busy winter than their colleagues in the engine department. With the West McLaren Mercedes MP4-20 we hope to have created an effective chassis/engine/ tyre package with which we can build on the performance and results our team achieved with the preceding MP4-19B during the second half of last year, and especially during the last third of last season."
The predecessor to the current MP4-20, the West McLaren Mercedes MP4-19B, was first used at the French Grand Prix on July 4, 2004. Just one week later Kimi Räikkönen achieved the pole position and second place in Silverstone with this car. At the end of August this was followed by the first victory on the demanding Spa-Francorchamps (B) track. This was also the 34th victory for the West McLaren Mercedes Team.
In 1997 the partners notched up their first victory with David Coulthard in Melbourne – this was the first race for which the West McLaren Mercedes took to the grid in silver paintwork, the traditional motor racing livery of Mercedes-Benz.
DTM: seven drivers from five countries in the AMG-Mercedes C-Class – two-times Formula 1 World Champion Mika Häkkinen celebrates his DTM premiere
The line-up of Mercedes-Benz drivers for the 2005 DTM is both international and highly qualified. Seven drivers from five countries will pilot the AMG-Mercedes C-Class for the new season in Europe’s most popular touring car series. One new addition to the team of seven has attracted particular attention – Mika Häkkinen, who became Formula 1 World Champion with West McLaren Mercedes in 1998 and 1999. At the end of 2001 the Finn retired from his Formula 1 career after 162 Grand Prix races and 20 victories for McLaren-Mercedes.
Mika Häkkinen (36) will take his place in the HWA team, behind the wheel of the 2005-generation AMG-Mercedes C-Class. He joins experienced team colleagues such as the record-winning DTM Champion Bernd Schneider (40), who has won four DTM Championships, is able to look back on 38 DTM and ITC victories and is now commencing his 16th season with Mercedes-Benz. Gary Paffett (23) has made a convincing start in the HWA team, coming second overall in 2004 with three victories. Moreover this Formula 3 Champion won the city race in Shanghai in 2002, though this did not count towards the Championship rating. The fourth HWA driver is very well-known to Mika Häkkinen – it is his former Formula 1 rival Jean Alesi (40), who has achieved three DTM victories to date.
Team newcomer Jamie Green (22) will also drive a current C-Class, having become Formula 3 Euroseries Champion in convincing style with seven victories in 2004. His DTM car is being entered by Persson Motorsport. This team is also responsible for the 2004-model C-Class driven by DTM-newcomer Bruno Spengler (21). The seventh member of the driver line-up is Stefan Mücke (23) from Berlin. His 2004 car is in the care of a team headed by his father Peter. Mücke Motorsport is therefore entering the DTM as a private team.
All seven AMG-Mercedes C-Class cars have been developed and built by Mercedes-Benz partner HWA. The current version was first tested during the third week of January in Estoril, Portugal. The new C-Class has been aerodynamically modified according to the new racing rules. The most obvious change is the "Gurney flap", a breakaway edge on the rear wing.
The tightly defined technical rules ensure equal chances and a close starting line-up, as well as predictable costs. Rule stability is accorded a high priority in the DTM. The races lasting roughly one hour are spiced up with two mandatory pit stops. The qualifying rules already make the Saturday racing day an interesting experience: after 30 minutes of training for all, the best ten compete against the clock for pole position.
Mercedes-Benz motorsport is once again being sponsored by DaimlerChrysler Bank and by Salzgitter AG, who first became a sponsor last year, by the longstanding partner Mercedes-AMG and by Vodafone D2, which has been a Mercedes-Benz DTM partner since 1994. New sponsors are Schüco and the Milchstrasse publishing company with its programme magazine TV-Spielfilm. The technical partners are H&R, Mobil, ThyssenKrupp Bilstein and Würth. The Mercedes-Benz teams are also supported by equipment manufacturers Becker Design, Puma and Sandtler.
In addition to the traditional race tracks in Germany, interesting new venues are scheduled for the 2005 season: the Grand Prix tracks in Istanbul (Turkey) and Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), as well as the city course in Avignon (France). On April 17 the sixth DTM season since the comeback in 2000 will begin at its traditional venue, the Hockenheimring in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
With a record number of spectators and a continuously growing media presence, the series has become the prime event in touring car racing. In 2004 there was a more than 20 percent increase in spectator numbers, with an average of 76,900 attending the race weekends. The highlights were the Norisring (132,000 spectators), the Nürburgring (103,000) and the final race in Hockenheim (133,000). In addition to the excitement and high-class sport offered at these events, the major ingredients contributing to the success of the DTM are its family-friendly atmosphere and its excellent value for money.
It was not only at the tracks, but also on TV screens that the DTM achieved record figures. TV coverage was outstanding, with an average of 82 million TV contacts per event including programme information trailers in Germany alone, 20 million more than in the previous year. All in all the DTM was reported on for a good 122 hours in 2004, compared with 100 hours in the year before. The live rating was extremely high with approximately 1.5 million viewers and a market share in Germany of over 13 percent.
The DTM has also expanded where the international media presence is concerned. The DTM was reported for approx. 1800 hours in a total of 175 countries. The growing international importance of the DTM is also shown by live worldwide transmissions of DTM races. In 2004 there were already 15 countries in which the DTM races were shown live or in recorded form.
"In 2005 the DTM will gain another decidedly international touch", says the head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug. "Drivers from nine countries will be taking part for the new season, and in our team alone there are seven drivers from five different countries. With the races on the Grand Prix tracks in Istanbul and Spa, as well as the city race in Avignon, the racing calendar will be enriched with three new, spectacular and attractive venues. In sporting terms the 2005 DTM season will certainly be the greatest challenge for the drivers and teams since the inception of the series. I am expecting roughly a dozen potentially victorious driver/vehicle combinations, a correspondingly close starting line-up and exciting races. Naturally all of us are delighted to welcome the not entirely unknown Mika to the team. He is not only a two-times World Champion, but continues to be one of the world’s foremost racing drivers and, particularly in Germany, he is a very positive representative of both our brand and motor racing in general. Of course this is of no interest to his team colleagues and especially the drivers of competing manufacturers, as they merely see Mika as one of many racing rivals. Mika by no means has a World Champion bonus where Bernd, Jean, Gary, Jamie, Bruno and Stefan are concerned – they would all be delighted to beat him. The DTM is no easy matter – even for a double World Champion – but Mika knows what he wants, and above all what he is capable of."
Formula 3: new generation of drivers uses the Mercedes-Benz M271 engine
Mercedes-Benz has a long tradition of encouraging young racing talent, and up-and-coming young drivers have received support from Mercedes-Benz since the end of the 80s. But in 2005, the team taking the field in the Formula 3 Euroseries with the Mercedes-Benz engine used in the C-Class and E-Class is the youngest to date. Sebastian Vettel and Atila de Abreu are 17 years old, Paul di Resta is 18 and Lucas di Grassi and Lewis Hamilton are 20 years of age. Adrian Sutil is the oldest at 22.
In this their first Formula 3 Euroseries year, the two youngest will be competing for the Mücke Motorsport team. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) and Atila de Abreu (Brazil) know each other from the Formula BMW ADAC Championship. Vettel won this Championship comfortably with 18 victories in 20 races. Abreu, who notched up 56 victories on the Brazilian karting scene before coming to Formula BMW as a 15-year-old in 2003, won 2 races there last year. The Scot di Resta and the Brazilian di Grassi are also driving in Europe’s leading Formula 3 Championship for the first time, and will race for Manor Motorsport which is based in the UK.
At ASM in France, last year’s most successful team, Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Adrian Sutil from Germany each have one year of experience from the Euroseries to contribute. Hamilton has already been sponsored by McLaren and Mercedes-Benz since 1997. At the end of 2004 he was able to achieve victory in the international Formula 3 race in Bahrain driving a Dallara Mercedes.
This victory was a positive conclusion to a season which was characterised by the successes of the Formula 3 engine by Mercedes-Benz. Jamie Green and the French ASM team became Champions of the Euroseries, while his team colleague Alexandre Prémat came second. Three victories were contributed by Eric Salignon. Prémat also won the two most prestigious races for the worldwide Formula 3 elite, the Marlboro Masters in Zandvoort, Netherlands, and the Formula 3 Grand Prix in Macao.
The Mercedes-Benz Formula 3 engine was developed from the 1.8-litre version of the new-generation four-cylinder engines by DTM partner HWA two years ago. The racing engine was bored out to two litres, but must make do without supercharging or direct injection in accordance with the rules. Like its series-production counterpart, it develops a high, constant torque, is low in weight and has an output of more than 200 hp.
The Formula 3 Euroseries was founded by the German Motorsport Association and its French counterpart FFSA for the 2003 season. Eight races are carried out as part of the accompanying programme for the DTM, and the series can be viewed live on the pay-TV station Premiere. The best illustration of the quality to be found in this young-driver series is the line-up for Formula 1 and the DTM: many drivers including Ralf and Michael Schumacher, Bernd Schneider, Nick Heidfeld, Gary Paffett, Jamie Green and Christian Klien learned their trade in the German Formula 3 Championships or the Formula 3 Euroseries.