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F1: Too Early To Assess New Mercedes, Pirelli Wants Middle East Testing Photo:
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TMR Team | Feb, 14 2013 | 1 Comment

It is too early to say just how good the new Mercedes is, according to team boss Ross Brawn.

After an up-and-down first test for the new silver W04, former double world champion Mika Hakkinen admitted he suspects the car is "not exactly up to the speed I expected them to be".

"I don't see them competing too much this year," the Finn is quoted by the Sun.

When asked a similar question by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, Mercedes team boss said his first impression of the performance of the W04 was "good".

"We still have work to do on the degradation of the tyres. But the problem is that Jerez in the winter is not very representative," added the Briton.

"The numbers are promising. The downforce is as the wind tunnel predicted, as is the behaviour of the car."

Asked if the team will have to wait until Barcelona to know exactly how the W04 is shaping up, Brawn answered: "Maybe later.

"It can also be very cool in Barcelona. We will probably only be able to say in Australia and Malaysia."

Brawn also confirmed that - with top technical minds including Aldo Costa, Bob Bell and Geoff Willis all now working for Mercedes - the team already has a design team working exclusively on the 2014 car.

"Ferrari announced a while ago that they have two teams working on the 2013 and 2014 cars and that is what we have also done," he said.

"We have even gone so far that we have selected the most promising of several concept proposals.

"The transition (of development between the 2013 and 2014 projects) will be smooth, not from one day to the other."

Meanwhile, with Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff shaking up Mercedes' management amid rumours McLaren's Paddy Lowe is being courted, Brawn insisted his top job is actually not in danger.

"I am settled," he is quoted by the Mirror. "I have got no problems."



Pirelli wants 2014 tests in Middle East

F1 could be heading to the Middle East for pre-season testing next year.

Pirelli's Paul Hembery said the Jerez circuit, the scene of last week's opening test of the 2013 pre-season, is no longer suitable for winter running.

"It is not a good reference," he told Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, "because of the condition of the asphalt."

He is referring to the extreme abrasiveness of the Spanish circuit's surface, which has apparently become even worse than before in more recent times.

"I think next year maybe we should go to Bahrain or Abu Dhabi," added Hembery.

The good news, however, is that Pirelli is basically satisfied with the outcome of the Jerez test, where the Italian marque's 2013 tyres were put through their paces.

"The drivers and engineers gave us positive feedback," said Hembery.

"It seems we have achieved our goals of having faster tyres that reach optimum grip more quickly, and have a wider window of peak performance.

"Our intention was to offer greater mechanical grip, thus reducing the importance of aerodynamics.

"This leads us to predict that there will be less difference between the performance of the big and the middle-sized teams," he added.

F1 heads to Spain's Circuit de Catalunya for the second test next week.



Chinese Le Mans team eyes F1

F1 could soon have a Chinese formula one team.

Recently, Hong Kong-based KC Motorgroup (KCMG) became the first Chinese entry to be confirmed for the fabled Le Mans 24 hour race.

Headed by Paul Ip, the outfit this week took delivery of its Morgan chassis for the LMP2 class, which will be driven by Shanghai-based Swiss driver Alexandre Imperatori.

"I started KC Motorgroup with one ambitious goal in mind -- be the first formula one team in China," said Ip.


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