Bottas crash damage cost could cost Mercedes F1 upgrade push

Toto Wolff says the costs incurred by the damage to Valtteri Bottas’s Formula 1 car following his crash with George Russell at Imola could impact Mercedes upgrades and planned development.

Bottas crash damage cost could cost Mercedes F1 upgrade push

Bottas collided with Williams driver Russell while battling for ninth place in Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, resulting in a big crash that caused the race to be red flagged.

Bottas and Russell were quick to blame each other for causing the crash on the approach to Turn 2, but the stewards deemed it to be a racing incident.

Mercedes team boss Wolff was left to manage a collision between Bottas and Mercedes-linked junior Russell, feeling the latter had “lots to learn”.

But a more immediate issue for Mercedes is the impact the crash damage will have on its development plan for 2021 and the switch to 2022, given the expense incurred by the crash in the first year of F1’s new cost cap.

Asked by Autosport how he would manage the situation, Wolff said it was “absolutely not amusing” for Mercedes, believing it could cost the team planned upgrades amid its battle with Red Bull.

“It’s quite a big shunt,” Wolff said. “Our car is almost a write-off and in a cost-cap environment that is certainly not what we needed, and probably it’s going to limit upgrades that we’re able to do.

“And simply the fact that we ended there by losing it in the wet, because there was no contact, losing it on the wet, and making both cars crash out is not what I expect to see.

“We are very stretched on cost cap, and what we always feared is a total write-off of a car. This one is not going to be a total write-off, but almost, and that is not something we really wanted.”

Marshals clear the damaged car of Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, from the gravel trap

Marshals clear the damaged car of Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, from the gravel trap

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Teams are limited to spend $145 million through the 2021 season under the cost cap, meaning any unexpected or unplanned crash damage costs bite harder than in previous years.

Read Also:

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said the team still had to complete a full analysis of the crash damage and what could be salvaged from Bottas’s car.

“It is extensive, and whether or not there’s any damage on the power unit side is one of the things that we need to check carefully,” Shovlin said.

“Because he didn’t finish the race, the gearbox isn’t a concern. But the new factor for us this year is that we’re all cost capped. This sort of damage isn’t really in the plan.

“Our drivers have been incredibly good at getting through seasons without breaking much in recent years, and certainly in terms of the bill in terms of carbon work and metal work will be very extensive from that.

“So we’ll go through and look at what we can actually salvage, and get the cars back together for Portimao. But it is quite a concern when you have these sort of incidents.”

Shovlin explained how teams were working on the basis that parts would complete their anticipated life cycle before breaking.

“If you have a series of these kind of large accidents that are doing significant damage - and this has been bad for us, because we’ve had a front wing with Lewis [Hamilton] as well - then that will definitely exceed our allocation for what we have available to spend on the parts,” Shovlin said.

“In an ideal world, you run them to life, you don’t break them, anything that you do break, hopefully it’s end of life or something that is about to be obsolete.

“But that is definitely not the case here. So it is really a factor of the cost cap, and the money has got to come from somewhere.

“Ultimately if it becomes a big problem, it can start to hit your development budget. So we do need to be mindful of that moving forward.”

shares
comments

Related video

Autosport Podcast: Reviewing the Emilia Romagna GP
Previous article

Autosport Podcast: Reviewing the Emilia Romagna GP

Next article

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Plus

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

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

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

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

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? Plus

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 Plus

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 F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes Plus

How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes

With Formula 1’s future engine regulations now agreed, MARK GALLAGHER wonders if they will provide a more competitive field than past attempts actually managed

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Plus

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 Plus

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

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

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022