Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Bottas won’t use Spanish GP clutch again after poor start

2019 Monaco Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas says the clutch he used at the Spanish Grand Prix, where a poor start cost him the lead of the race, won’t be fitted to his car again.

having qualified on pole position Bottas was passed at the start of the race by team mate Lewis Hamilton, who went on to win. Bottas blamed a clutch “oscillation” for his slow getaway.

A video released by Mercedes last week suggested it was due to a lack of grip at his starting position rather than a problems with his car. But speaking in today’s FIA press conference Bottas the team had investigated the problem and decided not to continue using the clutch from the race.

“We went through all the details and things to improve from my side and the team’s side, as usual. We can see the cause of it. For sure that clutch, physically, is out from the pool.

“But there’s also things on the control side that in that unfortunate moment which just being on the grip limit allowed some hesitation and variation on the clutch torque. We’ve done changes to prevent that. Hopefully it won’t happen again, and we’ll move on.”

Bottas has taken pole position for the last three rounds of the championship.

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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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9 comments on “Bottas won’t use Spanish GP clutch again after poor start”

  1. This is where money comes into play and is unsporting. Team Mercedes can do this, while poorer teams need a longer time scale

    1. Every team has a pool of parts in case of a crash, while Mercedes are flush with cash for sure this isn’t an example of that.

      This is just Bottas trying to save face and keep himself motivated. I’ve noticed he’s working overtime to not let any self doubt creep in, blaming the white line or the machinery and you gotta admit, it’s working for him.

      I think he’s very aware of the mental path he went down last year and how to avoid it.

      1. +1 Mercedes seem to think the issue wasn’t with the clutch but will swap it to keep Bottas happy. Blaming the equipment or ‘mysterious forces’ can potentially become a distraction, though.

      2. I don’t think the white line was about saving face. It was in fact bottas admitting he made a mistake by not having wheelspin when going over the line on the warmup lap. His slip over the white line was caused by himself not doing a burnout on warmup. It is still bottas’ mistake but it was a mistake on warmup lap and not in his start. The clutch issue is something mercedes can see in telemetry. I don’t know how often the clutch is changed though. Could be normal to change it between weekends, between sessions or less often. The fact that a clutch change is mentioned could be just a normal clutch change or it could be a switch to a different type or something else.

    2. Oh, come on. A clutch costs peanuts compared to a front wing and they’re replaced all the time, by all the teams, rich and poor.

  2. As I understand it, the rules mandate the cars be fitted with some awkward to use clutch system. I could understand this if it was a health and safety issue, but the impression I got was it was chosen to make starting difficult for the drivers.
    I think they should remove that awkward clutch and put in one that is easier and safer to get the car moving from a standing start.

    1. You mean making the clutch operation at starts completely controlled by computers? That’s why the clutch rule was changed because the driver was not in control. Now they are more in control.

  3. It was the same mechanic as usual that fitted the clutch? wink wink

  4. One shot of Penicillin and a tablet should clear up even the most severe case of Spanish-clutch.

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