Timo Bernhard, Porsche 919 Tributew, Nurburgring Nordschleife, 2018

Mercedes won’t try to beat Porsche’s Nurburgring Nordschleife lap time with F1 car

2018 Austrian Grand Prix

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Mercedes won’t pay to make an attempt at beating Porsche’s record Nurburgring Nordschleife lap time with its Formula 1 car, according to team principal Toto Wolff.

The former World Endurance Championship team used a development of its LMP1 car, called the 919 Tribute, to shatter its own 35-year-old course record for the iconic, 20-kilometre track earlier today.

Asked by RaceFans whether Mercedes is interested in claiming the record for itself with its F1 car, Wolff admitted he had given it some thought.

“It’s funny that you say that, I thought about that this morning when I saw the time,” said Wolff during today’s FIA press conference at the Red Bull Ring.

“It’s obviously incredible what they have achieved to do. Five minutes 19 is almost a minute faster than what [Stefan] Bellof did in a sports car.

“It’s one and a half minutes faster than what I thought of doing and it ended up in tears,” added Wolff, referring to a crash he had on the Nurburgring Nordschleife during his racing career.

“I have spoken with the guys this morning and they’ve said it is just unbelievable, it’s like flying a spaceship around the track.

“It would be interesting to put a Formula One car on the Nordschleife and trying to see what it does but it’s probably more a nice fling than a realistic idea that somebody is going to finance.”

Asked by RaceFans if Mercedes could afford it Wolff answered: “No”.

Porsche’s 919 Tribute has also beaten the record pole position time Mercedes set at Spa-Francorchamps during last year’s Belgian Grand Prix.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 25 comments on “Mercedes won’t try to beat Porsche’s Nurburgring Nordschleife lap time with F1 car”

    1. Aww go on.

      1. Maybe if we all send Mercedes a fiver each they will have enough to have a go!

    2. Good. No point to compare F1-car limited by sporting regulations to freely modified WEC car. Mercedes and all the other F1 teams have better things to do. Let Porsche play alone its stupid game.

      1. Exactly. We can extrapolate an equivalent time in a few weeks time when we head to Belgium.

        In an F1 car still restricted by regulations.

      2. I wouldn’t be so negative. It’s a good advertising and as a motorsports enthusiast I’m happy to see initiatives aiming to break previous records. What’s the harm?

        1. @spoutnik I agree. It’d be a different bit of publicity apart from their F1 programme. Like, they are 4 times world champions, so they’ve had lots of publicity from F1 itself. Can you imagine if they took last years car and modified it outside the regulations, slapped a brand new souped up engine with party mode in the back and sent that around the ‘Ring? I would love to see that and I bet I’m not the only one.

        2. He’s just upset that thevso called ‘pinnacle’ of race cars is in fact a lie.

          1. Well it’s not is it? This Porsche is not a race car, it’s a record breaking attempt car. A fantastic one at that, but it’s not a race car.

            1. Using semantics, trying hard to spin it that way hey? If a person looks at that thing will they call it a ‘record breaking attempt car’? I don’t think so.

    3. To be fair, they could prepare a modified version of their F1 car, free of F1 regulations, for the attempt.

      In fact, even without the publicity involved, it would be a great way for them to push their vision of the F1 car of the future. They wouldn’t need to stick to the same aero or engine regs, and could develop a car specifically for that run: Unrestricted fuel flow, unrestricted MGU-K use, any aero tweaks they wish to push for (ground effect, tyre fairings, cockpit cover)… Politically, to show off how fast an F1 car could be (maybe even side by side with an F1 spec car) if they allowed X Y and Z could hold a lot of weight!

      1. @drmouse Except that if Mercedes want to stay in F1 they can’t run anything newer than a three year old car, and what’s the point in going all-out to modify one of them? I don’t know what the WEC rules are but I’m pretty sure that Porsche are no longer bound by them in any way; to get the same freedom from F1 rules Mercedes would have to leave F1. Maybe when they do leave (or when Red Bull get bored, or if Ferrari follow through on one of their threats to leave) they’ll have a crack at something like this.

        Meanwhile, as someone who has pootled around the Nordschleife at maybe half that speed, BIG props to Porsche and Timo Bernhard!

        1. @jimg They can’t run an homologated car, but there’s nothing to stop them producing something that isn’t homologated or built to the F1 regulations.

          If people are prepared to protest it, they might as well ask what CFD work went into Adrian Newey’s RBX1…

    4. manoli moriaty
      29th June 2018, 15:34

      The problem with the new record is that it’s moot. All previous attempts have been either in a production car, or during a race, both areas having their respective counterparts as clear benchmarks. Porsche essentially spent money to develop and built a car specifically for beating racetrack records, unbound from any regulations, thus beyond comparison with other attempts. Perhaps the only comparable discipline would be Pikes Peak prototypes or land speed record vehicles. But to compare the 919 Tribute glory run with Bellof’s live race time is certainly missing the point of track records.

      1. F1 has thrown track records out the window with Liberty crediting practice times now…. nobody cares anymore….:(

    5. Asked by RaceFans if Mercedes could afford it Wolff answered: “No”.

      Come off it. They could save 90 million over 3 years employing Riccairdo over Hamilton and get the same results. Dan has already beaten Lewis in a slower car.

      1. What makes you think Hamilton is only cost to the team? He brings incredible value publicity and sponsors along with him which probably pays more than half of his salary if not all… There is no guarantee Ric will be even better than Bottas in the new car just because he was good at Red Bulls efficient high downforce cars. Vettel didn’t do well when things changed. Even in Ferrari it took him some time… So it s just a speculation until he moves to mercs and see how he compares… by then probably ham retire and bottas more established and comfy in the car…

    6. How much does WEC owe F1 over the years for technology transfer?
      Spoliers, Skirts, diffusers, shark fins? Engines, gearboxes? Couldn’t F1 nod at these cars and say we did a lot of that first?

      1. Technology transfer goes many ways… F1 likely owes just as much to innovations from WEC.

    7. People, watch the video. It’s bonkers. The car goes through the end of Hatzenbach like it’s a few cones set up in a parking lot. It goes through the Schwedenkreuz kink and gets back to 300 in the short dash before the next hairpin, at which point you know you are about to see something crazy. It EXITS the last corner before the back straight at 300kph. I had to rewind to make sure I saw that right. Although it’s slower by a minute, it does give you new respect for the 956/962, which had active-nothing, a very simple suspension design, and very little front down force.

      I don’t see much point in Mercedes or anyone else going after this record. First, you could sense from the video that this was not an all-out run. Bernhard didn’t even use the banked part of the carousel. Second, going 10/10ths in a car that fast would be incredibly dangerous; any off in that car would mean guardrails in a split second.

      1. @dmw My and my colleague at work surmised that the banked part of the carousel was avoided because it’s so bumpy – it would just upset the car aero and possibly slow it down.

        But yes, the entire run seemed almost effortless.

    8. What Porsche/Bernhard did was great, and way more exciting than anything F1 is up to. It would be bonkers to see an F! car try the same thing. Who would have the balls to try? Also, I still think of Bellof’s lap — all done with minimal safety on a bumpier surface with other cars around — amazing.

      1. Webber still has an fduct RB6!

    9. F1 is scared to go out in practice if it rains a bit. I.e. 2018 French gp fp2.

    10. Well, car manufacturers are getting current production cars into the 6 minute bracket. Maybe Porsche just wanted to reset what time a prototype could set in the modern era to give perspective.

    Comments are closed.