Wolff reveals issue only cost Hamilton 0.2s a lap

20/06/2016
NEWS STORY

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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Published: 20/06/2016
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