Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2018

Mercedes believes retirements aren’t linked to engine upgrade

2018 Austrian Grand Prix

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Mercedes believes the faults which caused Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to retire from the Austrian Grand Prix were not related to the new-specification power unit it introduced at the last race.

The team had postponed the introduction of its revised ‘phase 2.1’ M09 power unit by one race after discovering a problem with it prior to the Canadian Grand Prix. It was raced for the first time in France last weekend.

However team principal Toto Wolff said the team’s two retirements in today’s race had separate causes, neither of which appear to be linked to the new specification.

“I think none of the issues today on the cars had something to do with the [power unit’s] reliability as far as you can see,” he told media including RaceFans.

“We had a hydraulic leak that was linked to the steering on Valtteri. And we had a drop in fuel pressure on Lewis’s car which was linked to the fuel system. This is the current understanding. So no regrets on introducing the engine.”

having locked out the front row of the grid for today’s race, Wolff said the double retirement was even more painful for him than the Spanish Grand Prix in 2016 when both the team’s drivers crashed on the first lap.

“For me [it’s] the most painful day in my years at Mercedes, worse than Barcelona,” he said.

“I had plenty of people coming to see me before the race saying this is going to be a walk in the park, one and two, you have the quickest car. And I said we’ll talk in two hours. This is exactly how motorsport, motor racing can go. It can be very cruel. I think we had all the cruelty go against us today.”

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8 comments on “Mercedes believes retirements aren’t linked to engine upgrade”

  1. Graham (@guitargraham)
    1st July 2018, 17:04

    if the ambient temperature was significantly higher than expected i think we’ll find that the cars cooked themselves. the strategy mess up that put Lewis in traffic certainly wouldnt have helped and he did mention on the radio that the car was losing power a good while before it expired

    1. @graham if the temperature played a roll specially with overcooking the tires that were 10 laps or so younger than ferrari, what could we expect in silverstone, i just checked the area temperature of redbull ring and was around 23,24 Celsius and the track reaching 40+, then i checked silverstone, i know is still 7 days and can change a lot but the weather cast says its going to be 29 in the area, so maybe 40+ Celsius again on the track? correct me if thats now know it works

      1. Tire temperatures won’t be a problem in Northampton. Pirellli made a last minute adaptation to their tires to be used in a few GP’s, remember

        1. @george but the 0.4 mm special tires is because the resurface that eats tires.. plus super hot, I don’t know mate that’s bit worrying even if they make the adjustments to fight that like @BasCB said

      2. I am sure that it did play a role here, not just for Mercedes but also for Ricciardo, for the Renaults and for Hartley too. But when they expect the weather to be like that, they can easily react with small changes to the bodywork as well as the settings in the electronics to avoid that @j3d89

  2. I wonder if Lewis had pitted under the VSC and retained the lead, whether his car would have failed or not. Basically, they lost the race themselves. Valterri’s failure caused the VSC, which lead to the misjudgement, then Lewis had to push the car and then he dropped into the pack which lead to the car being pushed while being behind 2 cars.

    1. @krichelle +1
      I was thinking the exact same thing.

      I think Bottas made a mistake by not pulling off the track at the previous marshall access point. The odd thing is he looked like he was about to stop, but then didn’t. Not sure i understand that logic.

    2. I thought the same RE Lewis.

      However, if the problem was with the fuel system, AFAIK that runs at a similar output no matter what the car is doing. Therefore I think it unlikely that it had any significant effect, and it’s probable that the same would have happened even without the strategy gaffe.

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