Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Baku City Circuit, 2021

Hamilton and Bottas swap chassis ahead of French Grand Prix

2021 French Grand Prix

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Both Mercedes drivers will use different chassis for this weekend’s French Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas said the change was planned and not a consequence of his poor result at the previous race in Baku.

Following the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Bottas said he was puzzled by his lack of pace and that the “most logical” explanation was a problem with his car. He confirmed today he will have a different chassis at Paul Ricard, which is one the team has used previously.

“It’s not a new chassis,” Bottas explained. “It’s different and it was always planned for me to change to a different chassis at this point.”

Bottas has taken over chassis number six, which team mate Lewis Hamilton has used since the beginning of the season. Hamilton will take over chassis number four.

A Mercedes spokesperson confirmed the change had been made in order to ensure their available chassis complete similar mileages. Bottas last changed his chassis following the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, where he was involved in a high-speed collision with George Russell which severely damaged his car.

Bottas is hopeful the W12 will work better for him and Lewis Hamilton at Paul Ricard than it did in Baku and Monaco. He believes his sub-par weekend in Azerbaijan was due to “a combination of of many things.”

“We saw that in Monaco, for me, I managed to find the set-up and the confidence and get the tyres to work and Lewis didn’t,” Bottas explained. “It almost felt like vice-versa in Baku. There was quite a big difference towards the end of the weekend with the set-up. And now I can say that probably the direction I took, we took as a team, wasn’t ideal. Some other small things combined.

“I think our car is quite on a knife-edge on those kind of tracks. But I think at least the next few tracks it’s a bit more normal and hopefully we can get a reasonable set-up and and that it’s not that easy to to go into the wrong direction.”

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Author information

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...
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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20 comments on “Hamilton and Bottas swap chassis ahead of French Grand Prix”

  1. Translation: Not hugely news-worthy.

    1. @jerejj I agree. This stuff happens all the time, it just so happens that this time a driver has talked about it in a press conference.

    2. Not newsworthy, yet still intriguing.
      If you ‘swap’ chassis between the drivers it will do nothing to the mileage unless you expect one driver to make more miles than the other.

      It sounds a bit like the explanation Pirelli gave for the Baku blow-ups.

      1. Where does it say the swap is ‘between’ drivers? I read it like that initially too but I guess they just change chassis?

        1. @trib4udi Bottas is taking over Hamilton’s old chassis:

          Bottas has taken over chassis number six, which team mate Lewis Hamilton has used since the beginning of the season. Hamilton will take over chassis number four.

          1. Thanks! I am bad reader apparently

    3. Translation: Bottas is out by the end of the season.

  2. Give it a few weeks….

    “Mercedes change Bottas’ team for 2022 F1 Season”

    1. “It’s different and it was always planned for me to change to a different chassis at this point”

      1. And how different is the chassis?

        “Very, it’s inside a Williams”.

  3. If it’s all about mileage why is bottas getting the one Lewis is currently using?

    Are they expecting him to complete less laps in it than Lewis would?

    1. Some additional 48hours pit stops will do the trick.

  4. Broccoliface
    17th June 2021, 15:03

    Is this Merc humouring the last of Bottas’ excuses for the different in place?

  5. I’d say Mercedes are using Hamilton’s feel of the car, to hone in on the set up. Hamilton’s feed back is vital to their development cycle.

    1. Hmm, I would say both Mercedes have had bad feel of the car this season at moments.

  6. Lewhine Hamilton and Valterri Bottler switching chassis
    This is hilarious

  7. What is the history of chassis four?

    Is that the one Bottas is currently using, and therefore each driver is just getting the chassis of the other driver? If so, why?
    Or is it a brand new chassis for their No 1 driver, while the No 2 gets the cast off?

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