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The fight for fifth place: Dwarves challenge Mercedes

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The fight for fifth place
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D can that be true? Mercedes feels the hot breath of Sauber and Force India in the fight for fifth place in the constructors' cup. You have to let that melt in your mouth. Sauber and Force India are chasing Mercedes. Both teams drive with a minimal budget. Something between 80 and 90 million euros. Compared to Red Bull and Ferrari, Mercedes is not a bed of roses either, but it is 150 million euros. In addition, around 200 more employees.

Customer team overtakes factory team

Nevertheless, it is pursuing Team from Brackley still have the tire problem that Sauber and Force India have long since solved. Apart from the technical directors Matt Morris and Andy Green, there is hardly anyone from the technical office that you know. At Mercedes, Bob Bell, Aldo Costa, Geoff Willis and Mike Elliott have four highly decorated engineers on the chiefs post.

The silver car started off strong, but has stagnated since Nico Rosberg's second place in Monte Carlo. At Sauber, each of the three development packages brought noticeable progress. Force India also moved steadily forward. Work on the car has been stopped since the Belgian GP. And since then the car has been getting better and better.

'Because we understand it better. That usually brings more lap time in the second half of the season than any upgrades, which are logically smaller and smaller because you always get the maximum potential of the car more is approaching ', explains sports director Otmar Szafnauer. Nico H├╝lkenberg's seventh place in Japan and sixth place in Korea prove the American right. H├╝lkenberg was even able to keep the pace of the Lotus and McLaren recently. The Mercedes factory racing team is no longer an opponent for the Mercedes customer team.

Mercedes has achieved two clear laps in a row. We are lucky that the lead over Sauber remained frozen at 20 points because Sergio Perez's tactic did not work due to a broken pit light. Force India gained eight points and is now 47 points behind Mercedes and 27 points behind Sauber.

Nothing has been decided in this three-way battle. 'Just as we look ahead to Mercedes, we also have to orientate ourselves backwards towards Force India. That doesn't make things any easier,' says Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn.

Tire puzzle at Mercedes ongoing topic

For Mercedes, the tire issue is growing more and moreto laugh at. Usually either the front tires are too cold or the rear tires are too hot. This time it burned at both ends. Grains at the front, overheating at the back. Ross Brawn's first report sounds like a declaration of bankruptcy: 'Michael gave everything today, but we struggled to keep the tires up to temperature. At certain points the tires worked properly and then we were more competitive, but struggled in too many phases of the race We have to analyze how we can improve this situation and we will work hard to make progress for the last four Grand Prix. '

Looking towards 2013, Brawn is optimistic:' We spent the summer deciphering the tire puzzle. The aerodynamic development fell by the wayside. To do this, we changed the geometry of the rear axle three times and developed control systems that allow us to better check the tire temperatures. '

His conclusion: 'We have a better organization, better tools, and we now know why the tires in our car sometimes heat up differently.' Only two conclusions can be drawn from this. Either the current car does not allow these findings to be implemented. Or you've found the wrong answers. Ross Brawn, Norbert Haug and Niki Lauda have a lot to do.

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