Mercedes need to stay off brutal kerbs to avoid repeat of Austrian GP ‘headache’ admits Wolff
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were told it was “critical” to avoid the kerbs in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix and while Mercedes have applied fixes to ease the problem in the short turnaround between races, Team Principal Toto Wolff accepts both drivers will need to try to avoid the kerbs when the same track hosts Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix…
Speaking to our F1 Nation podcast after the first race, Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin explained electrical noise interfered with various system, leading to gearbox issues that required the drivers to stay away from the Red Bull Ring’s notorious kerbs.
Wolff admitted that it will be difficult to avoid the kerbs all the time, particularly as the team are expecting a big threat from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who starts second behind pole-sitter Hamilton, and that they need to find a way to minimise the contact.
“Well there will be laps where you have no chance of not using them,” said Wolff. “Whether Max is leading or behind us, just cruising around neatly avoiding the kerbs is not going to be possible.
It’s about constant massacring the suspension that is something that will cause us a headache
“It’s about constant massacring the suspension that is something that will cause us a headache, so once we have settled in our positions, then we will be trying to avoid the kerbs. It’s a very Austria-specific topic.”
Bottas said on Friday, after the team ran sensors to monitor and see if the problem reappeared, that he fully trusts the team to find a solution, but admitted he and Hamilton could potentially have to drive differently on Sunday.
The Finn, who won the race at the Red Bull Ring last weekend, will start fourth on the grid, having struggled with getting temperature into the tyres as his front-right brake was “glazing” throughout the session.