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Wolff reveals issue only cost Hamilton 0.2s a lap

NEWS STORY
20/06/2016

Mercedes boss admits situation must have felt a lot worse to Lewis Hamilton than it really was.

Speaking after the Grand Prix of Europe, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff revealed - not for the first time - that whilst one car had appeared to suffer issues, in fact both cars were similarly affected.

"We had a problem on both cars," the Austrian told reporters. "It was the configuration of some switches. Lewis's problem came a bit earlier, and Nico's a couple of laps later.

"There was a way of changing the switches on the dashboard," he admitted, "but we are not allowed to communicate with the drivers and this caused a bit of confusion and it took a while on Lewis's car to reset.

"Nico was in a bit more of a fortunate situation," he added, "as he had done a switch change before, and he changed it back basically a couple of laps later. Lewis was trying to figure out what it was, and it took twelve laps. The power came back but it was too late."

"Right now we don't know how much it affected his race overall," he admitted, "we will analyse it when we are back in the factory, but from what we have seen I would estimate it at 0.2 seconds a lap. But for Lewis it must have felt much more, as in Turn 2/3, where you expect the biggest boost, there simply was none, so subconsciously it must have felt like a lot more.

"The settings were wrong because we had a messy Friday where we couldn't configure it in the way we should have done, so everything was pre-set in the wrong way and it started to show a little bit earlier on Lewis' car than on Nico's. Three laps earlier."

Asked if the issue was due to the circuit or whether a new mode had been introduced, the Austrian said: "You are always trying to optimise the mode, and this was the optimisation! Unfortunately it didn't work. It simply failed."

Having seemingly resolved the issue, Hamilton subsequently appeared to slow again suggesting the problem had returned.

"From the moment he got fast again the setting was fine," confirmed Wolff. "Why he got slow again he has to answer. Probably he figured out that the gap to the front was too big. That is the only explanation that I have."

Asked if more time in the simulator might have helped, Wolff said: "Not at all! These processes are so complicated to find the right settings - you don't find that in the simulator."

Finally, asked about the radio communication rules which were thrust into the spotlight yesterday, the Austrian said: "At the heart of racing there should be drivers racing each other... that is my opinion.

"Today's cars are very complicated, very sophisticated technology-wise, so it is not that I am complaining, quite the opposite, as it is the same for everybody. But I think that Ferrari had a similar issue so you can do two things: make the technology much less complicated - and I don't think that this is the right direction - or just change the regulations so that you can communicate with the driver in case there is a problem. But right now that is how it is."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spindoctor, 21/06/2016 14:12

""Only 0.2 secs a lap" is Toto on another planet? That's around 10 seconds over 50 laps, and hardly takes account of details like exactly where the power-loss was most severe, and how it affected corner-exit speeds etc.

Another race in which it seems Mercedes can't put out 2 cars sufficiently well-prepared to last a race distance. without mysterious problems.
I don't subscribe to various conspiracy theories about Mercedes favouring Nico, but I must admit that I'm a bit sceptical when Nico's recent poor performances are apparently car-related, and now, when Hamilton gets a problem so does Nico. If Nico had the same problem, how come he could do fastest laps at will and beat every other car by a country mile?

"

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2. Posted by vectis, 21/06/2016 11:31

"personally I want to see the drivers skill at driving , not at setting computers ; I was all in favour of stopping the coaching of driving methods but expecting drivers to change power unit settings at 200mph is ridiculous even if only on safety grounds .....are we going to wait for there to be a major accident before doing something

incidentally , am I the only person who doesn't believe that when hamilton has a problem rosberg has had it s well but got over it ? on this occasion the team says he had it before so knew what to do ...they also say he had turned a switch and just turned it back ? something smells to me

also not happy about kimi's penalty which only happened because ricci suddenly dived in the pits as kimi came to overtake

2 silly rules that turned the race into a borefest for me , watching cars DRS pass something slower is hardly interesting"

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3. Posted by Jonno, 21/06/2016 8:37

"Is it really necessary to point out that it is impossible to change settings or control a car remotely. The information the pits receive from the cars is one-way data only. The engineers have to physically plug into the system make adjustments. Remote control is banned. Why do you think they all have to use a standard ECU?
"

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4. Posted by Doug, 20/06/2016 19:31

"I don't believe a race car professional driver can possibly be either too smart or too analytical. Of course the world champ started throwing switches when the car took over. How infuriating especially how qualifications turned out and where he had to start. So you can imagine how determined he was to beat the field anyway. On the other hand, Rosberg, sitting on Dad's knee had heard some, probably more than some, of these little puzzling aside stories before so it was just a bunch of random facts, racing, Word Champion facts, he had maybe heard before, maybe not. But how that little brain did churn. From way back, Keke knew his kid was smart as a whip. How to raise a boy properly when you're gone half the time, or more. While Dad's away little Nico thinks of his Dad. What makes him so great to other people, one the other world champion drivers respect? Churning and churning it seems to take hold. This is fortunate as Dad would be taken too soon. But he lives, in a way. When puzzling things happen, what to do for little Nico? Think is the answer. Use all that powerful intelligence, racing stories and your natural ability. Put them together Nico. OK, it happened to the champ, both of us. Hmm, "what was it I did before the car slowed pace? Oh yeah, I flipped a switch, OK, flip it back. All better? Yeah, back to business." The current champ is a fidgeting, quivering body of pure talent. Speed gets him through. Hasn't he proven it three times over? But over time pure talent wanes. Intellect grows until those lines, one with the singular initial of R the other not. The blank line climbs quickly, the R, not so fast. But like most graphs the lines eventually cross; one turns up and the other noses over. Maybe in Baku the lines crossed."

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5. Posted by testa rossa, 20/06/2016 18:22

"Nonickname @ This is what i was thinking when the Toyota in Le Mans slowed down suddenly 5 minutes before the end in winning position . Hacked or magnatic beam at the trackside ?"

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6. Posted by Jonno, 20/06/2016 14:52

"Sorry Tonto, I don't beieve a word of it. Hamilton was losing far more than 0.2 seconds a lap to Perez after the problem started.
"

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7. Posted by nonickname, 20/06/2016 11:46

"Why should the settings be change/changeable for every section of the track?? This is just more stupidity. God forbid someone hacks into the on-board data one day, you could take a team out from anywhere."

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