Mercedes admits of feeling low post the F1 Brazil GP as they talk why the car didn’t work and George Russell’s PU situation.
It wasn’t the weekend that Mercedes wanted to see in F1 Brazil GP, especially a year on after their fantastic win courtesy George Russell. The team just didn’t get going in the sprint after a solid start. They dropped down the pack to score meager points.
Even in the main race, the car had high degradation where Lewis Hamilton only finished eighth, while Russell retired due to high temperature in his power unit. The team noted that it was the last race for the power unit set as per their listing.
Russell will have a different power unit for Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi, but it isn’t certain if it will be a new one or taken out from the pool. Looking back at the weekend, Mercedes head of trackside performance Riccardo Musconi admitted of team feeling low on Monday.
But they have picked themselves up and focused on analysing the reasons for lack of performance. Mercedes found good pace on Friday and felt good with the car but they had a surprise on Saturday in the sprint when the pace just wasn’t there.
They found that their degradation was high mainly due to rear axle. They had a simulator session on Saturday night to help with changes for Sunday – whatever they could have done. The degradation was a bit better but the car started to struggle in the corners.
Low feeling –
Mercedes: “I have to confess waking up on Monday morning, the mood is a bit low after such a weekend. You need to put that aside though and try to find the positive spin and positive attitude, trying to come to work to bring the best out of yourself during the day. In this team, we have a mantra that the bad experiences are what make us stronger. So we will try to understand as much as possible out of this weekend. We already gathered trying to put together all the pieces of information and we will work hard over the next few days to understand what went wrong in Interlagos.”
Weekend, what was done, could have been done –
Mercedes: “The long run pace we showed in free practice was quite reassuring. We didn’t think that we needed to change the car around, so we went into qualifying, and the results were around the third row. In a way, we were not pleased with it, and we felt the car deserved more. The alarm bells went out during the sprint race because after the encouraging first two laps, the degradation of our car was quite high, mainly coming from the rear axle. At that stage we worried about our performance on the Sunday We organised for a simulator session back at the factory, looking at the parameters we could change between Saturday and Sunday, as we are in parc fermé because it’s a sprint weekend.
“That doesn’t leave us with many tools to play with. We were hoping that addressing some of the issues we experienced on Saturday, like pushing very hard on the first couple of laps, doing a bit more management and trimming a bit the balance of the car with the fla,p would have been enough to put us in a more comfortable position for Sunday. What came out of Sunday was quite a bleak picture resemblant of our Saturday. We improved the degradation a bit on the rear axle but at the same time we started suffering from understeer, so the car was struggling to turn the corners.
“The pace therefore wasn’t there and we couldn’t compete at the front. Did we consider changing the setup of the car? Well, we are in parc fermé throughout the weekend with the sprint regulations so if we were changing the setup on Saturday night, we’d have to take a pitlane start on Sunday. That means that you are released after all the cars are passed by the pit exit, you need to catch up to the back of the pack and cut through it which causes tyre degradation. So, for us from a strategical point of view, it was off the table.”
Russell’s power unit –
Mercedes: “In a nutshell, yes. George will be on different Power Units for the next two races as was originally allocated. The Power Unit used in Interlagos was meant to be its last race weekend so why did we retire his car? We started seeing some pressures and temperatures that were quite worrying and it got to a point where we were quite convinced it was about to fail. To avoid a possible fire and damage other parts of the car, the logical conclusion was to retire the car. He will be on a different Power Unit for the final two races so there is no issue from that point of view.”
Here’s Mercedes trio reflecting on bad Brazil GP
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