Could Mercedes’ new black livery be problematic for performance in Austria?
Mercedes have taken a stand against racism and discrimination, switching the colours of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas’s cars from silver to black for this season – but could the change be problematic for performance at the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian Grand Prix?
Temperatures are set to hit a toasty 30C on Sunday, with Mercedes having struggled in the heat at this venue last year, with Bottas finishing third and Hamilton down in fifth. At the time, Wolff said Austria had “exposed the biggest vulnerability” of their car which meant they “couldn’t challenge for the win”.
Mercedes have made gains in the area of cooling over the winter, but ahead of this year's Austrian race Wolff admitted it was “unknown” what impact the switch to black from silver would have on his team.
We have made some calculations for tomorrow when the weather is expected to be 30C and we’ll see whether our simulations with a silver car have been different to results on track with a black car
“It’s a good question, because in the end, the messaging and the marketing is very important but if performance is being harmed, that’s obviously not great,” said Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff.
“We have made some calculations for tomorrow when the weather is expected to be 30C and we’ll see whether our simulations with a silver car have been different to results on track with a black car. It’s a fair point. It’s a little bit of an unknown to us.”
Valtteri Bottas starts Sunday’s race on pole position, having pipped team mate and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton to top spot on the grid, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – who won this race last year – starting third.