Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin says the team will work urgently on the tyre problems it discovered yesterday to avoid a repeat in this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.Circuit de Catalunya could be as challenging for tyre management as they were at Silverstone.
“There’s an element of urgency here because we’re flying out [to Spain] on Tuesday, running on Friday. It’s forecast to be 30C, the track will be a bit like this, it’s a high-energy circuit.
“So we’re well aware that if we don’t get on top of it we’ve got another Sunday looking silly.”
The blisters Mercedes suffered during yesterday’s race cost them a potential win. Rivals Red Bull were much less seriously affected, and Max Verstappen was able to overhaul both Mercedes drivers to win.
Shovlin said there appears to be several reasons why Mercedes’ performance was “not good enough” last weekend. “It’s fair to say that on the hottest days we’ve looked less competitive,” he said.
“We knew that blistering was an issue. We knew that last week, we were talking to the drivers about it [on Sunday] morning. We know the sort of temperatures that will occur at. So that wasn’t news to us.
“What was news to us this [in the race] was we are kind of at the very, very worst end of that problem and Red Bull appear to be at the very best end of that spectrum.
“That’s the thing that we need to understand because there’s been other races where everyone’s been in the same boat. Why are we an outlier? Right now we haven’t got the answer.”
Pirelli has nominated harder tyres for the next round of the championship which may allow Mercedes to “hide from” their problem, said Shovlin.
“If we don’t solve it, you can probably hide from it a little bit on that C1 tyre,” he said. “But we’ve still got to run the tyre that was causing us grief [as Silverstone]. That wasn’t solving the problem for us.
“We’ve seen Red Bull, they’re not that far off us in races even when we’re looking at our best. So I think, to be honest, if we don’t make progress, we’ll be in trouble there as well. So that’s kind of where this urgency to get a bit of a grip on it comes from.”
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
2020 F1 season
- Bottas vs Rosberg: Hamilton’s Mercedes team mates compared after 78 races each
- F1 revenues fell by $877 million in Covid-struck 2020 season
- Hamilton and Mercedes finally announce new deal for 2021 season
- F1 audience figures “strong” in 2020 despite dip in television viewers
- 2020 F1 driver rankings #1: Lewis Hamilton