MAY 27, 2010
Lehto: Mercedes Is Going In Michael's Direction
JJ Lehto has said that he believes Mercedes is developing its car to suit the characteristics of Michael Schumacher's driving style rather than that of Nico Rosberg.
The suggestion was first made before the Spanish GP when a wheelbase, weight distribution and aerodynamic upgrade for Barcelona was believed to have been done to cure inherent understeer in the Mercedes chassis and give the car a more positive turn-in. The timing was also such that the revised chassis came after a below par performance from Schumacher in Shanghai.
Ross Brawn, however, refuted such suggestions, saying that both drivers had very similar set-up demands, that the update was planned some time ago and that any advances made would be to the benefit of both drivers. Rosberg himself also towed the team line, saying that he, like Schumacher, does not feel at home with an understeering car.
While many dismiss such suggestions as simply journalists trying to stir up a controversy where there is none, the fact that it is Lehto making them, may give them slightly more currency. Lehto, who now works for Finnish TV, was team mate to Schumacher at Benetton in 1994 and therefore knows more than most about Michael's driving preferences.
"I did say it," Lehto confirmed in Turkey, "and I said it because just looking at the upgrade they did for Barcelona, the car was so much pointier and Nico was struggling. Of course at Monaco they went back to the shorter wheelbase car for that circuit and I guess we will have to see how it looks this weekend."