Mercedes “unlikely” to have resolved tyre problems

Mercedes Formula 1 chief strategist James Vowles has cautioned that the team is “unlikely” to have resolved the tyre problems it experienced at Silverstone – despite a strong race in Spain.

Mercedes “unlikely” to have resolved tyre problems

After losing out to Max Verstappen and Red Bull in the 70th Anniversary GP Mercedes undertook what Vowles calls “incredible work” to address its tyre blistering issues before the Barcelona event.

The drivers duly raced without dramas, with Lewis Hamilton scoring a dominant win, and Valtteri Bottas taking third place behind Verstappen.

“Clearly following Silverstone, there was a lot of focus on the tyre, the tyre management and the overheating that we experienced during the course of that race, including the blistering,” Vowles explained in a team video.

“We had but a few days to get on top of this, and clearly you are not going to change the car dramatically between those two events.

“Barcelona is slightly different, it’s a higher downforce track, we run a bigger wing than we do at Silverstone, but other than that you are not going to fundamentally change the design of the car. So, you work with what you have, which is set-up and management.”

When we needed a bit of performance it was there

Vowles admitted that it was hard to assess changes at a different venue.

“We highlighted that there were a few areas where we weren’t quite optimum at Silverstone if we had to go back there, but the problem is, without racing at the same circuit and the same conditions, you can’t validate that.

“And as we went into Barcelona, there were a few tweaks on set-up and a few tweaks on how we were going to approach the weekend and use the tyres. I’m happy to say that the incredible work that was done over those, really just a few, days really paid off during the course of the race.

“We were managing the tyres, as was Verstappen, but when we needed a bit of performance it was there and available. And Lewis was just able to eke out a tenth at a time at the key points in the race.

“And really, it paid dividends. For Valtteri, the car that was following the other two in the dirty air for most of the race, and that’s what makes overheating even worse, he was able to really bring it home, scythe through traffic, and even get just about within undercut range of Verstappen.

“That’s an incredible change of where we were just seven days before.”

However, Vowles conceded that the circumstances in Spain were different compared to Silverstone, and thus the team could yet experience problems at other venues.

“Now, the reality is, are the problems fixed? It’s unlikely. The situation that happened at Silverstone is different to what we had in Barcelona.

“We have to keep learning; we have to keep improving. But what I’m happy to report is that the conditions we had in Barcelona were some of the most difficult this year.

“It was as warm, it was as sweltering on track and the reality behind that is, we performed well in those conditions, and we need to keep improving and moving forward.”

shares
comments

Related video

Tost: F1's constructor definition is “out of date”

Previous article

Tost: F1's constructor definition is “out of date”

Next article

Ocon expecting to bounce back with new engine at Belgian GP

Ocon expecting to bounce back with new engine at Belgian GP
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Mercedes
Author Adam Cooper
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Prime

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to Stuart Codling, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion.

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021