Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Nurburgring, 2020

Mercedes hope Bottas can avoid grid penalty after power unit fault

2020 Eifel Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas may face a grid penalty at the next race in Portugal following his retirement from the Eifel Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver was sidelined following a suspected MGU-H problem. Mercedes had fitted a new power unit to both cars for last weekend’s race. Any further new components which may have to be fitted as a result of the problem will result in a grid penalty.

Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said the team are still looking into what went wrong and haven’t ruled out the possibility of a grid penalty.

“It looks like it was an electronics issue on the power unit side that we think is within the pack,” he said. “But we’re still investigating that.

“It doesn’t look like it has to do with the hardware. So we’re investigating that and hopefully it won’t result in a penalty for him but we’ll know more when we get to the next race in Portimao.”

Team principal Toto Wolff is optimistic Bottas will be able to avoid a penalty.

“It looks like it was around the MGU-H but we haven’t found the root cause yet,” he said. “We retired the car not only because he wouldn’t have scored points, but also because we didn’t want to damage the power unit. I think we should be fine.

“It’s important now to understand what actually happened. We introduced new power units this weekend and there are still six races to go so we need to get on top of the problem.”

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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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18 comments on “Mercedes hope Bottas can avoid grid penalty after power unit fault”

  1. Wonder if it was related to his lap that he did after the lock up with his 50 pence piece tyre, shaking the car?

    1. I highly doubt it. At least a third of the grid did what Bottas did at some point and would say there was barley any drivers at all that didn’t lock up at some stage. Bottas was still quick enough to hold Verstappen behind, so it is very unlikely the vibration will have been enough to cause his car damage. Vibration surely won’t be related to causing these issues. Cars doing several laps with a broken damper while shaking like crazy (massa baku 2017) didn’t cause any problems to the power unit, so such minor vibration like Bottas had will have surely been unrelated.

      1. @thegianthogweed Bottas did go over the kerbs very heavily at the start on the first corner though, when he raced Hamilton back onto the track. And this season’s car seems pretty vulnerable to kerb damage as we saw in Austria.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          13th October 2020, 8:39

          But the kerb problem wasn’t really related to the power unit, and there were no warnings being given to the drivers that were broadcast this time. If anything, Hamilton was the one being a little bit too aggressive and he pushed Bottas off track, because of that, I don’t see anything different that Bottas could have done if he wanted to keep the position. Bottas’s problem was well after this and he hadn’t bumped across anything anywhere near the time he retired, so it won’t be related since Mercedes haven’t reported that.

  2. So sorry for valtterie happened to the wrong car

  3. This is not the first, every Mercedes drivers gone through this during catch-up game to lost the slim chances on the championship. Rosberg 2015, Hamilton 2016, I think Bottas had once also can’t remember…

    1. The interesting thing that someone pointed out on another forum is that had Hamilton had his puncture just after the pit entry not on the last lap in Britain and Bottas well round the lap like Hamilton, that will have given Bottas 25 points and lost Hamilton the same amount. Followed by this race, If Hamilton had the engine problem instead of Bottas, that would give Bottas another 25 points and lose Hamilton the same again. This would result in Bottas being ahead by over 30 points in the standings. Then he wouldn’t even have that much work to do after that with the amount of races remaining.

      2 points finishes missed outside of a drivers control vs 0 for their team mate makes such a difference but far more so in a top team.

      1. Stop being ridiculous with silly speculations. If Bottas was a pretty woman with long legs he might be dancing at the Folies-Bergère.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          13th October 2020, 8:12

          This is not silly at all. It is literally just reversing the situation for Hamilton and Bottas with the two races Bottas got no points through no fault of his own. This situation was entirely possible.

          To put it simply, all that needed to happen in Britain was for Hamilton to get a puncture 1 lap sooner similar to Bottas and had Bottas had what happened to Hamilton, the results would have been reversed. Exactly the same in the last race. That isn’t being ridiculous – it is showing that the points gap isn’t very representative.

        2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          13th October 2020, 8:50

          Also, taking things from your point of view, there were a lot of people doing “silly” speculations that Hamilton would have won the WDC in 2016 had he had better luck. It was basically Hamilton having a load of bad luck that year that allowed Rosberg to win. It basically could be a similar story this year had Bottas’s luck gone to hamilton and Bottas finished those two races on the podium that Bottas would be leading the WDC. If you don’t think mentioning this as something that could have “possibly” happened, then you should be one who thinks it is ridiculous to suggest that hamilton could have won in 2016 as it would have taken “what would have happened if” scenarios to happen to change anything.

          1. DNFs are part if F1. They have decided many championships. Luck of the draw. But to go on about punctures at a certain point of the race. Heck, you could say that about every driver in every race. So I stand by my comment about your silliness.

          2. I’m in complete agreement with Green Flag an farther more when will the pundits get over it th
            gamble with mercedes a gamble with mercedes an ended up married to the team that matched his ability. In a parallel world with Verstaphen or Alonso in the car would there be so much animosity towards his accomplishments.lol D

      2. @thegianthogweed Accepting this hypothesis, it presumes Bottas would have been able to complete the lap the same way Hamilton did. He wouldn’t have, though. It’s not even certain he’d have completed the lap. Probably the best driving Hamilton has done this season. Likewise you’re presuming Bottas’s driving played no part in his DNF. That’s not actually known yet, and maybe Mercedes wouldn’t publicly say if it was anyhow.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          13th October 2020, 8:32

          @david-br

          I think you seem to be forgetting that Bottas did a MUCH longer lap than Hamilton with his puncture? And this was with Bottas’s tyres coming apart in a worse manner than Hamilton’s. The commentators mentioned on the coverage that Hamilton was lucky with the way the tyres went as it wasn’t as bad as what often occurs. Bottas also hit the apexes and controlled it perfectly despite his tyres giving up in a slightly worse manner. Hamilton’s replay got showed many more times presumably because he managed to finish – but in reality, Bottas did just as good a job if not better considering the distance he had to do.

          There is absolutely nothing to suggest that he won’t have managed it over a shorter distance like Hamilton did – as he did just that, but further……
          Bottas many times in his career has had to do pretty much a full lap with a puncture, and he’s showed he’s pretty good at driving at a sensible speed to not damage his car or not loose too much time. In France 2018 when Vettel hit him, he had to manage his way carefully back to the pits and then recovered from there. Then there was Baku 2017 where he had to do one of the longest tracks on the calender and he managed to get back to the pits from the 2nd corner with a puncture then recover to 3rd. Bottas is pretty good at looking after the car when it has a puncture compared to some other drivers, so I see him comfortably managing what Hamilton did in Britain – but admittedly he may possibly have been beaten by verstappen.

          There is nothing on the Mercedes website that Wolf or Shovlin has said that suggests Bottas was at fault for his retirement last race, it was simply a power unit problem which drivers are not to blame for.

          The points lead for Bottas may have been overestimated a little in this comparison, but had Hamilton had Bottas’s luck in these two races and Bottas finished 2nd in those two races, he still would be leading the championship. Just shows how much can effect the points in a team like this.

  4. Why do I not believe they can pin-point the issue with diagnostics,these cars are full of electronics measuring every permissable part of the engine/chassis/gearbox everything and they say they are not sure as to the root cause.

    1. Valtteri was on party mode :- go figure😊

  5. That’s a scary thought isn’t it @thegianthogweed. A couple of 50 point swings… Covid lurking…

  6. Interesting that Bottas destroyed (1/4 of a second)a very good clean lap by Lewis during qualifying, in all of the sectors Valtteri was quicker. The power that Valtteri’s car recovered to turn two was equally amazing. Lap 20 the engine fails. I suspect #partymode

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