Bottas unsure DAS would have solved Mercedes' Imola F1 tyre struggles

Valtteri Bottas is unsure Mercedes’ innovative dual-axis steering (DAS) device that was banned for 2021 would have solved his Formula 1 tyre struggles at Imola two weeks ago.

Bottas unsure DAS would have solved Mercedes' Imola F1 tyre struggles

Bottas topped both practice sessions on Friday for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and said he felt “a lot happier” with the Mercedes W12 car than he did at the opening round in Bahrain.

But Friday proved to be the peak of the Finn’s Imola weekend as he slumped to eighth place in qualifying, while team-mate Lewis Hamilton took pole position, finishing over four-tenths of a second ahead.

Bottas fared little better on Sunday in the race, struggling in the lower-reaches of the top-10 before a crash with Williams’ George Russell brought his race to an early end.

Bottas and Mercedes came away from the Imola weekend citing tyre warm-up issues as being the key to his struggles, causing such a big performance swing compared to Hamilton in the sister car.

Mercedes used DAS through 2020 to allow its drivers to adjust the toe angle of the front tyres from inside the cockpit, assisting with tyre warm-up.

But Bottas did not think the now-banned device would have resolved his issues at Imola, which chiefly surrounded the rear tyres.

“I would say at Imola, the struggles in qualifying, now once we understood everything, it was 100% tyres,” Bottas said.

“My Q1 time would have been enough for the second row in Q3, and I ended up eighth. So it’s an area that we need to pay more attention to. We understand, but it also goes track by track.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

“With the DAS, for sure it was helpful on that, but at Imola, the main issue for me was rear tyres, getting them warm instead of the fronts.

“The DAS system was only for the fronts. I’m sure last year we had some benefits for that, but not necessarily for Imola.”

Mercedes sparked intrigue throughout the paddock when it debuted DAS at pre-season testing in 2020, with the regulations already being written to ban the device for 2021.

Red Bull lodged a protest against Mercedes over the use of the device at the opening race in Austria, only for the FIA to rule it as being legal and within the regulations.

Mercedes heads into this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix braced once again for a close fight with Red Bull, the teams having won one race each so far this year.

Bottas felt that it was “impossible to say” how competitive Mercedes would be compared to Red Bull at Portimao given the swings in track characteristics between Bahrain and Imola.

“We’ve raced on two very different tracks,” Bottas said.

“Bahrain is quite unique in terms of the surface of the tarmac and the overheating issues you get normally, and Imola also completely different, really smooth tarmac and the conditions we had were pretty cold.

“Here, [there are] many question marks in terms of the tarmac. I think it’s evolved quite a bit since last year. You just don’t know.

“The only thing we’ve focused on as a team was first of all getting my car fixed [after the crash], and putting some upgrades in the car and see how it works.”

 

shares
comments

Related video

Russell: No rules of engagement in fighting Mercedes drivers
Previous article

Russell: No rules of engagement in fighting Mercedes drivers

Next article

Leclerc: Drivers "pushing for a whole race" an F1 sprint benefit

Leclerc: Drivers "pushing for a whole race" an F1 sprint benefit
Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised Plus

Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s OLEG KARPOV on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons Plus

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career

Formula 1
Jun 24, 2022
How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Plus

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022
Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left? Plus

Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left?

Having extended his Formula 1 points lead with victory in Canada, Max Verstappen has raised his game further following his 2021 title triumph. Even on the days where Red Bull appears to be second best to Ferrari, Verstappen is getting the most out of the car in each race. So, does he have any weaknesses that his title rivals can exploit?

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2022
How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector Plus

How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector

In 2026, Formula 1 plans to make the switch to a fully sustainable fuel, as the greater automotive world considers its own alternative propulsion methods. Biogasoline and e-fuels both have merit as 'drop-in' fuels but, equally, both have their shortcomings...

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far Plus

The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far

OPINION: Carlos Sainz came close to winning in Monaco but needed that race’s specific circumstances for his shot at a maiden Formula 1 victory to appear. Last weekend in Canada, he led the line for Ferrari in Charles Leclerc’s absence from the front. And there’s a key reason why Sainz has turned his 2022 form around

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

Plenty of high scores but just a single perfect 10 from the first Montreal race in three years, as Max Verstappen fended off late pressure from Carlos Sainz. Here’s Autosport’s assessment on the Formula 1 drivers from the Canadian Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022
Why “faster” Ferrari couldn’t beat Red Bull in Canadian GP Plus

Why “faster” Ferrari couldn’t beat Red Bull in Canadian GP

On paper the Canadian Grand Prix will go down as Max Verstappen’s latest triumph, fending off late pressure from Carlos Sainz to extend his Formula 1 world championship lead. But as safety car periods, virtual and real, shook up the race Ferrari demonstrated it can take the fight to Red Bull after recent failures

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022