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"Horrible" Red Bull Ring highlights fundamental issue with Mercedes gearbox

NEWS STORY
07/07/2020

As early as the second lap of Sunday's race Valtteri Bottas was being told to look after his car, and as the battle at the front intensified, courtesy of the numerous safety cars, the messages from the pit-wall became more fraught as the engineers feared that running over the unforgiving kerbs at the Red Bull Ring would lead to a double-DNF.

Speaking after the race, team boss, Toto Wolff admitted that the team feared what he termed "instant kill" for both cars.

"The situation was pretty serious, right away from the start," he told reporters after the race. "We saw it started with issues on Valtteri's car, but it was something that can be an instant kill. Then it started on Lewis's car.

"We didn't really know what it was," he admitted. "We know that it was somehow linked to vibration and agitation of the car. That is why we advised them very early on to keep off the kerbs.

"At a certain stage, it looked like we would not finish the race with both cars. So we were trying to really cruise home."

Speaking to the official F1 website's podcast, trackside engineering director, Andrew Shovlin has shed more light on the issue.

"On Friday we saw that Valtteri had an issue at the end of one of the sessions so that was the first sign that we had a problem," he said. "We had recurring issue over the course of Saturday and going into the race we were expecting it because it seems to be a feature of the model.

"So, at the moment if we build the car and run it this problem will appear at some point," he admits, "it's just a question of how soon.

"It's basically a build-up of electrical noise that starts to interfere with the various systems," he explains, "so with Valtteri we saw that halfway through the race, it got progressively worse, then with Lewis it appeared later. But it's electrical noise that's then affecting a lot of different things.

"Austria's just a really horrible circuit for the cars," he admits. "Normally you start the season somewhere like Melbourne, and Melbourne's a track where it's very difficult to overtake, and when it's difficult to overtake you can then afford to look after your car and people aren't going to get by.

"This is a circuit where it's quite easy to overtake and as a result if you don't use the kerbs, if you don't push hard, you're at risk. That's one of the factors, but it's the kerbs themselves that are very, very violent and you spend a lot of the lap running on them.

"For us, that was that issue and it probably doesn't help that it's nearly 30 degrees here, the air's a bit thin so it's hot, there isn't as much cooling as you normally get, and all the temperatures inside the car are high."

Sadly for Andrew and the team Mercedes is back in action at the "horrible" Red Bull Ring again this weekend.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by mickl, 09/07/2020 17:02

"If I was the FIA I'd make the kerbs higher or even build a wall.

Or cheapest way, one wheel completely past the white line and lap time gets disqualified. Are the 'best' 20 drivers in the world going to say they won't be able to manage that? And any moronic critics who says to let them drive as they want. Imagine football, tennis, cricke, NFL, NBA, etc where white lines are ignored completely or partially. Complete muppets and retarded braindead if you support them going past the white lines."

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2. Posted by F1nerd, 08/07/2020 16:25

"Better to keep it on the black stuff, that is where it is supposed to be. The kerbs could be a brick wall."

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3. Posted by Kkiirmki, 08/07/2020 0:20

"The white lines are there for a reason, Toto."

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