Toto Wolff looks to remain in the F1 title fight seeing the competitiveness of W12, as Charles Leclerc will have the new Ferrari PU in Sochi.
As Honda pushes through to help Red Bull, Mercedes is taking a step by step approach whereby Wolff banks on the W12 competitiveness to see them through not just at Sochi but also the remainder of the 2021 F1 season in the title fight. “After taking the points leader at summer break, Mercedes has lost it back to Red Bull, who looked pretty competitive as well,” said Wolff.
“After a demanding and intense triple-header, we are reenergised and ready to go. Last time out in Monza was bittersweet – a commanding performance and strong result for Valtteri but a feeling of missed points for Lewis, who had the potential to fight for the win. The pleasing thing is that the W12 looks competitive and with just eight races to go, now is the time to use our experience and focus on the details and processes which will get us over the line.
“We’re looking forward to racing again in Russia, it is a circuit we’ve gone well at over the years and both our drivers have enjoyed great results in Sochi. We’re hoping to continue our run of success in Russia but know that this year is an entirely different beast, and we’re expecting another intense weekend. Our aim is to pull together a strong weekend, starting in FP1 and building one session at a time.
“Lewis is in the tenth championship battle of his F1 career, and he is laser focused on what he needs to deliver in the next eight races. As for Valtteri, he’s driving better than ever, like we saw in Monza – and he will be flat out every weekend,” summed up Wolff, who seems to be quietly optimistic about their chances, considering Sochi is one of their strongholds.
Red Bull, though, will be gunning through and through. At the moment, they are still to decide if they wish to take a penalty for the fourth power unit. The weather at Sochi will be a mixed one and they have time until qualifying to decide what they wish to do depending on the position they are in after qualifying.
Ferrari, meanwhile, have already decided to bring in their new power unit at Sochi, which was reported to be used around Turkey. Considering that Leclerc was due to use an extra power unit after the Hungary mishap, the team has decided to install it on the Monegasque’s car for the grand prix weekend.
He will collect as much data the team needs, not just for 2021 but also 2022, considering the development freeze coming up. Carlos Sainz will have to wait for his chance as Ferrari will only take a call later in the year, having gone through Leclerc’s data.
“The Russian Grand Prix sees the introduction of a new technical component for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow: a power united fitted with an updated hybrid system, the introduction of which was mentioned a few weeks back,” said a statement from the team. “Its main purpose is to gain experience for the 2022 car project.
“A great deal of effort has gone into this, both technically and logistically, and so as to be able to use it as soon as possible, its introduction will be staggered between the drivers. Charles will be the first to have the new hybrid system. This decision is a precautionary measure relating to the potential risk of using the battery pack damaged in his Hungarian GP accident.
“In Sochi, Leclerc will have a brand new power unit and will therefore start from the back of the grid. As to when the updated hybrid system is fitted to Carlos’ car, that will be decided following an evaluation of the right compromise between competitiveness and the impact of the penalty.”
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