Bottas power unit largely “damaged beyond repair” in crash

2021 F1 Season

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Mercedes say ‘a lot of’ Valtteri Bottas’ car has had to be returned to their factory after his collision with George Russell last weekend – and that much of it may have to be replaced.

Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said that the car had protected Bottas during the crash, which he said was around 30 over the course of its progress along the Imola track, before finally halting in the barriers.

“As much as we like our car, we like Valtteri more and happily he was able to come out of that with not much more than a bruised knee from the impact.” He said, “But it was a big crash, we were seeing around 30g at points in his trip around the walls and the track.”

His car did not fare as lightly, “Unfortunately, the car has not done quite so well. There is a fair amount of damage to that.

“We have managed to bring a lot of it back to the UK, we got the power unit at Brixworth where that’s being checked and inspected carefully and we will just pick through this and some of the bits we might be able to salvage.”

Of the power unit elements brought back to be tested, Shovlin said the outlook didn’t look good and could impact the Portuguese Grand Prix, “Unfortunately, quite a lot of it is damaged beyond repair and we are just looking at a logistics plan to try and be able to get sufficient parts to Portimão, which is the week after next, to make sure we can run both cars in the correct spec.”

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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  • 42 comments on “Bottas power unit largely “damaged beyond repair” in crash”

    1. More consecuences from Russellado actions. He disrepected Senna massively. In other era he will have killed 2 on that action.
      Russellado should learn respect.

      1. What an intelligent pun! And it’s even true!

        Reply moderated
        1. you think so? Maldonado is a meme legend.

          Reply moderated
        2. Maldonado is an undisputed meme legend.

      2. ‘Disrespected Senna’? Don’t be silly, he made a move and it went wrong, it’s nothin more than that.

        1. Close the mail, ignorant!

          1. Open up, “Crashstappen” guy!

          2. Do please explain your comment then, rationally if possible.

            1. Well it’s obvious it is a dangerous circuit. It’s obvious where Senna died. It’s obvious they change f1 security because of Senna and other serious accidents.
              So if you have the memory or even remember Senna footage, you’ll know an accident there is not a motive of taking it lighty like most Rusellado defenders do. It could have been very serious, it caused a red flag for obvious reasons.
              So the arguments: bah it was just a normal thing, it was just a normal action. Bla bla bla. Watch Bottas dizzy after the accident, he needed time to recover from it. And Russell punching his helmet like a punk. If that isn’t disrespect to the history of f1 and the memory of other serious accidents that happened there…
              But it’s obvious some people doesn’t respect the history of f1, or they didn’t even learned it. For the fans to don’t know it, well could be normal. But for a driver not know what has happened in the past. And joke about accidents like Russellado does…

      3. Are you the “Crashstappen” guy?

      4. I thought Senna’s philosophy was if there was an opportunity to overtake then you must take it if you are a true F1 driver, which is exactly what George did. The problem was Valtteri moved right forcing George off the track. If his intention was to prevent George from getting ahead of him then he more or less achieved that.
        Really it is time to update this “leave a car’s width” rule to something like “leave two car widths”.

        1. This line gets brought up only too often @drycrust

          I thought Senna’s philosophy was if there was an opportunity to overtake then you must take it if you are a true F1 driver,

          Thing is, it’s been pretty clearly shown that this only came up as a reason from Senna when he felt he needed to think up a better excuse to bat off critisism. So in a sense it is quite apt that it gets brought up to excuse Russel for a move where he was clearly the one most at fault.

          He went for a move on a still slippery track and lost his mojo when Bottas followed the racing line somewhat to the right, then Russel put a wheel on the wet patches and crashed them both out of the race.

          Just imagine what he threw away with that (and the ott reaction he had afterwards until he climbed back from that with his cool head coming back to him in the day after) – if it is costly and complicated for Mercedes, we can be sure that Williams is going to have an even more troubling time to get parts for the car to Portimao in time.

        2. @drycrust as noted by BasCB, what Senna was really doing with that quote was trying to come up with a cover story for deliberately crashing into Prost in the 1990 Japanese GP to take Prost out, thus ensuring that he would win the championship that year. It was a throwaway remark that Senna basically dropped afterwards when he did later admit, once the FIA had awarded the title to him and couldn’t take it away from him, that he chose to ram Prost off the track.

          On a wider note, I do wonder how much of the criticism is necessarily about the move itself, and how much of it is being turned into a proxy battle over the drivers involved instead that is becoming disconnected from the original incident.

          If this had been, say, an incident between Tsunoda and Giovinazzi, I’d imagine that most people would have largely written it off due to the inexperience of the drivers and probably would already be largely moving on from an incident that many would put down to a learning exercise, probably one where Tsunoda would be given more leniency given his relative inexperience and the fact that more people seem to like his personality.

          If it had been Latifi trying to pass Bottas in that manner, I would not be surprised if we would see the fan response largely putting the blame on Latifi and dismissing it as the move of a talentless pay driver (yes, I know it is rather unlikely Latifi might have been in Russell’s position, but I think the response of the fan base would probably play out in that manner from the way Latifi is often criticised) – similarly, I expect that, had Stroll been in either Bottas’s position or in Russell’s position, he’d probably be largely blamed and denounced in a similar manner.

          If one of the drivers was Vettel, it’d probably be mentioned as an example of how “he’s lost his touch” – if it was Alonso, it’d be used to question whether he should have returned. If Ocon was involved, I suspect many here would use it to paint Ocon as being a clumsy driver, again irrespective of whichever driver Ocon took the place of, and again largely dismiss it on those grounds.

          By and large, I suspect that the majority of the arguments about the event would have largely died out and already starting to be forgotten as attention turned to the next race if it had involved most other drivers.

          It feels as if it’s mainly because it was Russell and Bottas, and because Russell did so much to fan the flames in the press and to put the idea into the minds of so many that it was really about him fighting for Bottas’s place in 2022, that so much more is being made of this incident than it would if it involved two other drivers instead.

          It’s being turned away from the incident itself, and now it is being used to turn it into a means of attacking the characters of those involved. We have people attacking Bottas not for the move itself, but instead complaining that “he’s not doing enough to earn his seat” and use it as an opportunity to praise Russell’s “attacking spirit” as justification for him to replace Bottas – others are using it as a means of attacking what they see as immaturity and carelessness on Russell’s part and belittling or infantilising him.

          1. Such a sensible and balanced response anon – presented so eloquently too. There is too much of the “my driver / country is better than your driver / country” at the moment, meaning that reasoned debate like this really shines through. Thanks for that.

          2. I wish to report this comment as “very insightful”. You’re flagged, sir!

          3. @bascb @anon Thank you for your astute replies. I must admit you both have good arguments.

        3. @drycrust It is fussing F1 bro, Bottas covered the racing line..why Lewis took so many laps to pass Norris!!! Russel is just a kid now, but will definitely get arrogant in time. Two drivers crashed, and he’s acting like a monkey jumping near Valtteri’s car pushing his helmet, what an @ssho!e. He drove Lewis’s car once and he thinks he is Lewis.

          Reply moderated
      5. What a BS. First of all this is THE place to overtake. I guess 95% of the overtakes took place there. Secondly, Russell does nothing different than the other cars, it is just that Bottas didnt respect the overspeed the Williams had and left little room. No one else left this little room, no one. Thirdly, if you do not attempt a pass there then maybe you should take up a different sport or at least just drive straight into the pit to retire the car

    2. Great. Bottas does not really have any luck on his side since 2018? You make your own luck, but it can’t be for a long period of time.

      1. @krichelle
        The reason why it often appears as if Bottas doesn’t have any luck is because he is completely incapable of recovering from setbacks.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          21st April 2021, 22:16

          @krichelle
          @kingshark
          I would say that it is sometimes the case and sometimes not regarding him not recovering from setbacks.

          Occasions where he clearly couldn’t recover well were races such as China 2017, Australia 2018, Canada 2019 and Turkey last year.

          There were plenty of races in his Williams days where he would recover from well down the order to a good points finish. Or even in Britain 2014 where he went from out of Q1 to finish on the podium. Then at mercedes he had his drive in 2017 at Baku where he was a lap down due to and incident and although the safety car allowed him to unlap himself, he still had to make up many positions and that he managed and finished 2nd. Then Abu Dhabi in 2019 was pretty solid. He finished half a second off the podium when starting last at one of the hardest tracks to overtake where DRS was disabled for about a third of the race.

          I feel his weakness since 2020 especially has been getting the tyres to work when in traffic. It is possible that the newer setup just doesn’t suit his driving style compared to other drivers, but this isn’t related to luck no being on his side.

          In all 4 full seasons for Bottas, he’s had at least 1 mechanical DNF every year.

          Hamilton only had 1 in Austria 2018 since Bottas joined.

          Bottas’s list is a fair bit bigger:

          Spain 2017
          Baku 2018
          Austria 2018
          Germany 2019 – his fault
          Brazil 2019
          Eifel 2020
          Emilia Romagna 2021

          I think it can be said on the topic of bad luck that Bottas’s is fairly extreme compared to Hamilton.

          Bottas didn’t have bad luck this last race that got him into this position, but he likely will have got his tyres to work as it dried up and probably will have grabbed at least a small chunk of points which can be considered unlucky that he lost as that was down to Russell.

        2. @KingShark Bottas is so damn unlucky that lewis won his 2018 and 2019 titles because of him, either his sacrifices or his calibre of holding vettel on older tyres and not letting him pass.
          People will forget these. The only question arises here, how come lewis has such a stable and faster car and Valtteri does not. He needs to work on that.

          Reply moderated
        3. Or driving in traffic. Or driving in the wet

    3. “Bottas power unit damaged ‘beyond repair’ in crash”

      Meh…he wasn’t using it anyway.

      1. Damn – this has to be a contender for comment of the day!

    4. We need to remind ourselves that Bottas, who may not be a Top Notch driver at all, nevertheless has managed to out-qualify Lewis on countless occasions.
      It’s that rocket of a car, folks, that’s what it is….

      1. driving itself ofcourse!

      2. Bottas has 16 pole positions so that does not meet the definition of countless and Hamilton has 97 poles the most in F1 history. But do continue on.

        Reply moderated
    5. So, if he can’t use his allocation’s first PU element copies again, he might face a grid penalty later in the season. The gearbox isn’t a problem, as he can get it changed penalty-free for the next event via the DNF, but PU elements are another matter.

    6. My first thought was there must be a LOT of damage on the RHS because there’s none to LHS covers in the caption pic. But no, some carbon damage and presumably written off hardware in the RHS sidepod. I predict a miraculous save from the Mercedes engineering team will be reported before Portimao.

      1. I allready thought the damage to the PU is going to big if you check George Onboard where the nose went into Bottas engine body which is very slick and behind that is the engine. And if you know the engine is build of lightmetals and ceramics i could understand the engine is beyond repair.

    7. Will Mercedes please stop whining. Williams are poorer but not a peep from them.

      1. If they want their engines, they need to be quiet.

        Reply moderated
        1. Mercedes seem to be whiners yes. Didnt know that since they were always winning. Good that they are whining since it distracts from their actual tasks and therefore it will further accelerate their fall

    8. which he said was around 30 over the course of its progress

      What it was supposed to mean?

      Reply moderated
    9. We did it guys. Some comments were “Going, going, gone”!

    10. isthatglock21
      23rd April 2021, 17:29

      Tbh this headline was always kinda misleading & sus. I remember watching the debreif video then seeing this article & thinking to myself ‘What did I miss?’, But in reality it was always clear Andrew wasn’t talking specifically about the power unit when talking about ‘damaged beyond repair’ it was about the wider car. This headline & thus wider article was kinda misleading tbh & now we know it wasn’t damaged at all. Which you could kinda tell from pics as most the middle/back of the car was fine. I didn’t have an issue first time I saw this article, I just wanted to see where you got the quote as that clearly wasn’t what was said in the video, But seeing you argue about this on Twitter when you’re clearly in the wrong isn’t a great look tbh. Not trying to hate, It’s ok to make mistakes & frankly just do better ( The Editor too). P.s. I’m not the guy from Twitter you were @’in, I just recall thinking the exact same thing & I really like this site usually & your input as it’s usually considered very trustworthy, But incidents like this can easily snowball & turn you into one of those random blog sites if these stories gain traction.

      Reply moderated

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