Once again, Williams confirmed its sublime form during the Hockenheim GP. Helped with high temperatures, which gave the Michelin-runners a performance advantage, Juan Pablo Montoya now largely bettered his chances to fight for the championship, as he comes second in the standing, just 6 points behind Michael Schumacher. The advantage shown by Montoya and his FW25 was not seen from any other team than Ferrari in the last three years, as he finished the race with more than one minute in advance of second position, taken by Coulthard. The Scotsman was happy to be there, as Schumacher was in 2nd place with just 5 laps to go. It is said that the flat tyre Schumacher was suffering that time was caused by demanding too much of the Bridgestone-tyre. Schumacher had a puncture already in free practice on Saturday, for no clear reason, but also on the left rear (the most stressed on Hockenheim) and in lap 25-26. It looks like Bridgestone has some work to do, and Ferrari should pay more attention to their strategy, considering the tyres' situation.
I think everybody can remember Sauber complaining about the reliability of their customer Ferrari-engines. It was already suggested on the forum that the problem could well be a cooling problem of the Sauber chassis. Recent changes considering the side-pod cooling seem to agree these ideas. In Canada, the side pod had on top a little winglet to help pushing air over the rear wheel. Recently, Sauber has introduced a chimney instead of that winglet, to allow more cooling inside the pod. It is very remarkable that this chimney is probably the biggest on any current F1 car, which means a lot of air must escape through it.
A pure performance development from Sauber came with a new bargeboard. The new board consists of the formerly used simple board, and some additions that come from McLaren and Ferrari. The flat element that is perpendicular to the board itself can be seen on the F2003-GA's board, as where the special tunnel just above the track surface was used by McLaren when they still made use of extremely big bargeboards during 2002. The idea is to get more air around the pod to the diffuser, rather than pushing it into the side pod, where it passes through the heat exchangers.
Ferrari trying to keep up
In an effort to keep up with the pace of the BMW Williams FW25, Ferrari had upped performance for the British Grand Prix. Some extra changes have been made, as they are aware Williams still the better combination of tyres-chassis. As small changes is what it is about in F1, Ferrari has started to copy some things from other teams, like a small wave in the front wing end-plates. The lower part of it, parallel to the track surface, is now elliptical in the front, and flattening out in the rear. Renault is driving with this kind of element for some time now, with the difference that the wave is maintained until the very end of the end-plate.
The right image shows how Ferrari try to cool down their engine a little better. As hot air is exhausted just above and aside the engine exhausts, increasing the exhaust cover is actually the same as widening the air exhausts. Formerly, that cover was a lot smaller, where it now looks more like these at Minardi and Williams.
McLaren... the trouble
McLaren have changed their internal structure once again after the disaster of the MP4-18. It is the third change within two years. From now on Martin Whitmarsh will be the super-boss and under his direction chassis, engine and electronics will be working closer together. The entire engine department moves to England, which means that the engine department in Stuttgart will be closed. In engine development there will be four leaders on one level: Mario Illien, Werner Laurenz (former BMW), Hans-Peter Kollmeier (former boss of Stuttgart branch) and Hans-Ullrich Maik (CEO Ilmor). This means a degradation of Illien and an upgrade for Laurenz.
Mercedes had their new FO110Q-engine for 2004 on the dyno for the first time on the 1st of August. The development started in November 2002 and ran parallel to the development of the FO110P-type in the unlucky McLaren MP4-18. That is earlier than ever before in Mercedes F1 history, but still two weeks after the new BMWP84 started its dyno life. Toyota will be ready in September, Renault in October.
- BMW.Williams is keeping its development-pace high, by introducing again a new type of winglet in front of the large flipup that has been used by Williams for several years already. This time, the winglet consists of two elements, and is bent like BAR's and Jaguar's winglets.
- Hungarian F3000 ace Zsolt Baumgartner has driven a third Jordan EJ13 in Friday's free testing session at Hockenheim. The 22-year-old carried out a 50km shakedown test at the local Silverstone track on Monday to prepare for his first full F1 assault on the German curves. He said of the few laps at Silverstone: "I was really happy to get a chance to drive an F1 car in normal track conditions."
- From Hockenheim on, Justin Wilson is driving for Jaguar to complete the 2003 season. He will replace Antonio Pizzonia at the team, who has been underperforming during the whole season. Wilson on his part will be replaced by Kiesa at Minardi, a 25-year-old who until that time drove in F3000.
- Jarno Trulli is likely to keep his current helmet design for the rest of the season. Introduced in Magny-cours, Trulli wore a 'one-time' helmet that is mainly looking like a chromed mirror.
- Ferrari once again made slight changes to the bargeboards. The element most in front, that was once the 'second layer' before it was moved more towards the front suspension, is now equipped with a flat small plate, parallel to the surface.