Mercedes’ executive director technical Paddy Lowe is looking forward to the second half of the 2013 Formula One season, believing that the team is now entering a more stable period during the summer break.
The German team has claimed three wins and seven pole positions so far this season , but Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have been unable to capitalize on the good pace of the car thanks to issues with tire management during the early part of the season. Now that these issues have been resolved though, Lowe is confident that the team can perform following the ‘shutdown’ period in the summer.
“The team have produced a great car this year,” Lowe told Sky Sports. “There have been one or two problems which needed to be understood, particularly around race pace, but we’re clearly making progress.
“We’ve tried things. The team is very strong and has done a great job to understand the problems and adapt with a moving target because the tires have kept changing.”
Now that Pirelli have settled on a set construction and compound for the rest of the season, Lowe believes that the team can repeat its good result at the Hungarian Grand Prix where Lewis Hamilton claimed his first win for Mercedes.
“Hopefully we’ll have some stability now, and that is what is very promising for the races to come.”
The new tires do appear to have suited Mercedes compared to the previous designs, and this could help to launch the German team into a fight for both championships in 2013.
We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.
And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.
After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.
In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.
Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.
“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.
“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.
“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”
Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.
“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”
Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.