Mercedes says W09 "not a diva" despite lack of pace

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the team still has issues with overheating tyres that have troubled previous cars, but he insists that unlike its immediate predecessor the W09 is not a "diva".

Mercedes says W09 "not a diva" despite lack of pace
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ passes Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ in parc ferme
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Director of Motorsport
Listen to this article

Mercedes was outpaced by Ferrari in qualifying in Bahrain, with Valtteri Bottas taking third and Lewis Hamilton fourth, before his five-place grid penalty was applied.

Wolff says that the Bahrain track, now acknowledged by Pirelli as the roughest of the season, has not played to the strengths of Mercedes.

"I always said right from the beginning that this was going to be a season where it was going to be much tougher, particularly against Ferrari and Red Bull," he said.

"I was genuine about it and I meant it, and you could see that on a track like Bahrain with a very abrasive surface and lots of heat, we struggle."

Asked if the car was a diva – in other words as difficult to optimise as the 2017 model - he said: "No, it's different.

"She's not a diva. I think the drivers feel that the car is very much together. But we just lacked the pace today here."

How they line up for the Bahrain GP...

However, he agreed that the W09 seems to share some traits with previous Brackley cars.

"In the last years we always seemed to struggle on particular circuits. Bahrain was one where we were successful in terms of results in the past, but also sometimes it was not trivial to find the right set-up.

"And it's interesting that the regulations change, the car's completely different, the tyres change, but it's a little bit within the DNA of each car to have strengths and weaknesses, and it seems that these strengths and weaknesses stay, even though everything else changes."

Wolff say the team remains open-minded about strategy for Sunday's race, despite Hamilton having the obvious opportunity to run a one-stop with softs and then mediums, having used the latter in Q2 to determine the tyre he starts with.

"Tomorrow there's two choices, there's a one-stop or there's a two-stop. I think as far as we can judge from the data from the long running, it's not clear cut.

"I think most teams are probably going to see how the race starts and how it pans out on the supersoft, and obviously we have an advantage on the soft that we can eventually go a little bit longer. But it's not clear cut what it is."

He also played down the prospects of cooler temperatures later in the race helping Mercedes with its tyre issues.

"The race is the race and everything can change as we know, and this makes the sport exciting. On pure pace tomorrow I would say the two Ferraris are clearly the favourites.

"Daniel is an extremely strong racer, and I would see him in the mix there, and I think it will be interesting to see how Valtteri is capable to get off the line and drive hard, and then Lewis is coming back.

"But on pure pace I would see the two Ferraris as the fastest cars on the grid here in Bahrain."

He also conceded that keeping car temperatures under control will be a big challenge.

"You always try and optimise how much you close up the car in order to have the best aerodynamics. In traffic every team will look at how to manage car temperatures.

"Here in Bahrain I would expect it to be a topic, because also you want to maximise your qualifying result."

 

shares
comments
Alonso feared McLaren would struggle in Bahrain
Previous article

Alonso feared McLaren would struggle in Bahrain

Next article

How decision to watch an F1 race saved a Georgia family’s lives

How decision to watch an F1 race saved a Georgia family’s lives
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Prime

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Prime

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Prime

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Prime

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains Ben Edwards, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car.

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Prime

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Prime

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

Stuart Codling charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Prime

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded Maurce Hamilton of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Prime

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination.

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022