Michael Schumacher's First Race Is Bahrain - March 14, 2010
VALENCIA, SPAIN - Michael Schumacher, the incredible seven-time F1 World Champion is returning to Formula 1¬†this year after a three year absence, and many F1 fans are eager to watch him race his first race in the season opener in Bahrain on March 14, 2010. Schumacher will be driving car No. 3 for the Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team, and last week in Valenicia¬†he had his first¬†opportunity to test the balance, handling, and motor dynamics of the new Mercedes GP Petronas MGP W01 car.
Schumacher, who is 40 and was born in Hurth-Hermulheim, Germany, will race for Mercedes GP Petronas¬†along side his talented teammate,¬†24-year old Nico Rosberg, and also a native of Germany. Nick Heidfeld, who raced last year for the BMW Sauber F1 Team, will be¬†the Mercedes GP Petronas team's Reserve Race Driver and Test Driver for the 2010 season.
Prior to the first race in Bahrain, Formula 1 teams will only be allowed to conduct team assigned driver testing of their cars during four official sessions: Valencia, 1-3 February, Jerez 10-13 Ferbruary, Jerez 17-20 February, and Barcelona 25-28 February. Last week in Spain, Michael Schumacher showed he was very much on the pace with the third fastest time of all teams during the final day of testing at the Valencia circuit with a fastest lap of 1m 12.438.
Taking a closer look ar the new Mercedes GP Petronas F1 car (code named MGP W01), the main monocoque is constructed of moulded carbon fibre with honeycomb composite¬†used in areas where additional rigidity and strength are required. The suspension is Wishbone type with pushrod activated torsion springs and rockers, and road surface damping is provide by Sachs. For the wheelset, the rims are from the supplier BBS and¬†made of forged magnesium. The tires are Bridgestone¬†Potenza F1's for in both dry and rain condition treads. The brake friction material is carbon for both the pads and the four-wheel discs.
To negotiate¬†turns, the Mercedes GP Petronas¬†car has power assisted rack and pinion steering and¬†a custom carbon fibre steering wheel. When Schumacher negotiates each braking zone, corner exit, or straightaway in the Mercedes, he will do so using a seven-speed hydraulically activated semi-automatic gear box with the gearbox's¬†outer main casing constructed of carbon composite, and utilising a carbon clutch plate for engagement.
The Mercedes GP Petronas F1 car's engine is a Mercedes-Benz 2.4-litre 8-cylinder and is code named F0 108X. The Mercedes-Benz F1 engine revs up to a maximum 18,000 rpm (per maximum FIA regulations), and it has been designed to be exactly on the minimum FIA weight requirement of 95 kg (209 lbs). The¬†engine has 32-valves for breathing and two banks of¬†4 cylinders are opposed in a 90 degree arrangememt with piston bore at 98 mm (per maximum allowed FIA regulation).
In last week's Valencia testing, Michael Schumacher had the following to say about the new Mercedes GP Petronas F1 car, "It was a perfect rollout for the new car today. I felt totally comfortable and really had a feeling that everything was very natural. It felt just like at the very beginning of my career in 1991 when on the first lap, I thought ‚Äėwow that was really fast‚Äô and then on the second lap, I was just extremely excited. I feel like a young boy again and really enjoyed myself out there."