Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Singapore, 2015

Singapore a struggle even if we’d got everything right – Mercedes

2015 Singapore Grand Prix

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Mercedes believe they would have had a difficult race in Singapore even if they’d got the most out of their car.

The team’s year-long streak of pole positions ended at the Marina Bay circuit where Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg could do no better than fifth and sixth on the grid.

Mercedes executive director for technical Paddy Lowe said there was no “simple answer” for the difficulties the team experienced.

“One of the things we’re very clear on is even if we got everything right in Singapore, that doesn’t necessarily mean we would have been at the front,” said Lowe during today’s FIA press conference.

“We’ve got some strong competitors, [Ferrari and Red Bull] came to Singapore with very strong packages. There are things we didn’t optimise for that circuit: It’s a very unusual circuit, in fact it was our weakest one last year as well, in qualifying.”

“So we’ve definitely learnt some lessons from that. We still have a lot more to learn. But our focus now is on this race, which is a very different track.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Singapore a struggle even if we’d got everything right – Mercedes”

  1. Interesting. So i guess Austria last year was one of their stronger qualifying sessions :D

    1. @mrboerns I think it actually should’ve (HAM and ROS binned important runs).

      1. If you say so. Could only faintly remember Hamilton binning it.

        1. How the race ended?
          And if not for the mistake Lewis would be on pole.

    2. @mrboerns If you watch Lewis pole lap in 2014, you’ll see how hard it was for Hamilton to place his car. I used this argument after friday pratice to showcase my theory on Mercedes being bad at Singapore.

  2. I can’t believe that with 1200 staff members Mercedes can’t find the root cause of their poor Singapore WE unless they are hiding something, wait and see.

    1. We might not know yet but there may have been a technical directive which is affecting the Mercs more than anyone else.

    2. They didn’t lose much compared to last year. They improved 4 tenths in Singapore compared to 2014 when in Spa and Monza they improved 7 tenths. So perhaps they lost 3 tenths by making bad setup decisions.

      The only thing those 1200 people could comment on is the 3 tenths they didn’t gain. Which is probably what they did figure out and therefore they know they would have struggled even if they didn’t make those mistakes.

      Red Bull and Ferrrari however have been making great gains over the last few races and Singapore is a track where Mercedes struggles. So it actually stands to reason they would be overtaken by Ferrari and Red Bull, but you can’t expect Mercedes workers to (legally) know how Ferrari and Red Bull made their gains.

      1. @patrickl I think you have a sensible opinion. I too think Merc was outside the setup window.
        People keep mentioning the mandatory minimum psi rule change. At Singapore this number was lower than that of Monza, surely the standards are better enforced from Monza onwards but, for instances on the Monza grid only the 2 front rows were checked so perhaps most of the pack was running on the grey area.
        Anyway, if Suzuka is to be run on dry conditions, we should have a better view on this as Pirelli was particularly cautions with tyre pressures here. The track is historically tough on tyres and Pirelli upped the rear tyre pressures to 20psi. I can’t see the psi number on it’s own to matter much as pretty much every team was running as low as possible.

    3. What, like having enough air in the tyres?

      If my memory serves me correctly they had a little problem with that in the race before Singapore. Causation != Correlation, but what else has changed?

      1. @pjsqueak I get that. It’s well worth looking that up. Anyhow, is it not worth looking up that Ferrari and RBR both run blown axles at Singapore. Ferrari and RBR also redirect hot air from the brakes to the tyres, perhaps this gadget granted them more possibilities on tyre build-up and management, Merc could’t heat the tyres as much as they wanted, even after many setup changes.

    4. How many people does McLaren-Honda have? They haven’t figured it out all season.

      1. @abdelilah – sorry, didn’t add you into my reply to your “1200 staff members Mercedes can’t find the root cause” comment.

        1. No worries :)
          As for McLaren they do know the root cause of their poor performances, problem is they are not allowed under this s*itty regulation to change anything, also Ron Dennis is full of himself with his zero size theory which effective in being zero effective.
          McLaren will stay where they are as long as Honda does not come up with a new engine.

  3. Makes perfect sense to me to have a car optimised for the 90% of normal circuits, dominate those, and then suffer on the few street circuits. I will be surprised if we don’t see the order restored this weekend.

  4. Last year both Red Bull and Ferrari qualified much closer to Mercedes than usual. It seems than Mercedes is not suited to the circuit, which is understandable, given than it is a unique track. I’d prefer to sacrify this GP if I had to design a challenger for the title than being competitive in Singapore and less competitive in the remaining tracks.

  5. Mercedes had a massive gap on the engine department last year and still barely locked the front row.
    Now their advantage, to Ferrari at least, it’s not even close to be that big. And this happened.

    As for Red Bull, well, they exceed at this track. It’s probably their strongest track ever.
    Remember Giancarlo Minardi suspecting they were using traction control there, as Vettel’s advantage was massive on 2013. On comparable engines.

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