Hamilton’s brake failure unacceptable – Wolff

2014 German Grand Prix

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Mercedes director of motorsport Toto Wolff said the brake failure which put Lewis Hamilton out of qualifying today was “not acceptable”.

Less than 24 hours after saying Mercedes “must tackle” their recent reliability problems, a brake disc failure on Hamilton’s car caused him to crash out of qualifying.

“It was like night and day today,” said Wolff after qualifying, which also saw Nico Rosberg take pole position for the team.

“First of all, we’re all happy that Lewis is okay as it was quite a shunt. It’s just not acceptable to have a brake disc fail in that way after we fitted a new set this morning and we have to find out what we do about it.

“We will assess the car and see what the damage is in the end.”

The team’s executive director for technical Paddy Lowe said Hamilton’s brakes had been changed before the final practice session “in line with our normal procedures”. He added they had been “operating noramlly” until he went off on his fifth lap in qualifying.

Rosberg’s pole position was the ninth for the team this year. Wolff said he “did a very good job in difficult conditions because of the unexpected heat in combination with the super-soft tyre which made it very tricky for everyone”.

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Keith Collantine
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27 comments on “Hamilton’s brake failure unacceptable – Wolff”

  1. Lowe said that the discs were fitted before Qualifying and not before FP3.

    1. In the information Mercedes have just sent out Lowe’s comments are as reported above.

      1. Lowe did tell Kravitz on Sky that the discs were changed just before Qualifying.
        “Lowe said Hamilton’s brakes had been changed before the final practice session”
        @keithcollantine remember that the FIA in the Sporting Regulations officially refers to it as the
        “33 QUALIFYING PRACTICE 24-25”

      2. What I put came directly from Lowe on SSF1

  2. Lewis’ brakes have already cost them 25-18 points in Canada so you can understand Wolff getting angry with Brembo. Nico uses carbon industry brakes so he should be fine as usual.
    Shame that its not going to rain tomorrow, would’ve made an exciting race!

    1. Carbon industry brakes looks way better on Nico’s car. I’m curious how many other drivers using Brembo versus Carbon Industry

      1. Apart from the obvious brake failure from the brembo’s, Nico’s been locking up far more with his CI’s

      2. It may more have to do with luck, the way each driver brakes, and when they brake.

        1. Here is what Toto Wolff says about it “We have had a brake failure which means we are obliged to make sure that the car is running safe tomorrow. That means switching the brakes supplier.”

    2. Lewis also locked up a lot his first year at Mercedes. He traditionally locks up often but I believe he said he prefers the feel of brembo over C.I a couple years ago … at this rate though, he might have no choice but to switch.

    3. The energy recovery system failed on both Mercs in Canada – the one that harvests energy from braking. This messed up the braking performance.

      Yes, the brakes eventually failed, but root cause was the energy recovery system.

      1. Would it be easier to isolate the braking system from the ERS ?

      2. @jules-winfield yes you are right but still it was Nico with CI’s who finished the race not Hamilton with Brembos. F1 is so complicated that you can’t even tell that this two guys are driving the same car in the same team. I wonder if the team will react and demand for changing the brakes supplier in the other car because looking from the outside it’s Mercedes car that in the gravel….

        1. Its worth noting Hamilton was running rear brake bias on Canada, while Rosberg was a bit more to the front. That could very well have influenced the failure too.

    4. It also worth noting, that the braking habits of drivers have a lot of effect on brake life (hope i got the spellings correct)

  3. Surprised Martin Brundle and David were not able to see it wasn’t driver’s fault, when that was so apparent from how the snapped.

    But then again they always have very selective insight.

    1. It was more than obvious even for me as a chair expert :). The car just snapped with obvious blockage of the front left and was backed by Hamilton on the radio as well. I know it’s easy to said afterwards but still that was my opinion to, as I was sure that it was Hamilton’s mistake in Austria.

    2. Neither of them care for Hamilton so its going to come out occasionally.From the crash site,he told the team what happened.

  4. Last year Lewis was advocating CI, I wonder why he changed? Grandprix.com reports Toto saying he’d changed to Brembo ‘at the last minute’ – I can only guess in response to the loss of FRIC.

    If he changes back to CI for the race that will be tricky!

  5. If Mercedes do decide to start Lewis from the pit lane, that would just kill the race.

    1. If he starts from the pitlane it won’t be Mercedes decision – the car is under parc ferme and unless they get special dispensation on safety grounds changing the braking system (disc in this case) results in having to start from the PL.

  6. My first impression had been that the lack of FRIC had possibly caught him out, but I used the slow-motion replay my PVR has when I was watching it and there is a small cloud of black smoke that appeared to come from the right-front wheel, so regardless of BBC commentary, I guessed it was a brake problem.

    1. @mtlracer is bbc broadcasting this race?

      1. In Canada, races are broadcast on TSN which use the FOM video and BBC audio, which I think you can get on BBC Radio 5 live when they are not doing the live television broadcast.

    2. Yep looked like the disk disintegrated in the highlights slow-mo.

    3. And in Australia the commentary, which I thought was from Sky/M.Brundle, Brundle had only a minute or so earlier said that the drivers always have absolute faith that their brakes are going to work. The curse of the commentator.

  7. was itmatter
    19th July 2014, 21:03

    its got the smell of webberitis written all over it

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