Mercedes altered Hamilton and Rosberg's gloves to fix F1 starts

Mercedes has tried altering its Formula 1 drivers' gloves as part of its efforts to help Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg avoid problems with its "difficult to handle" clutch

Mercedes altered Hamilton and Rosberg's gloves to fix F1 starts

Hamilton suffered another slow getaway in the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, dropping from second on the grid to eighth by Turn 1, ultimately recovering to third as team-mate Rosberg won at Suzuka to extend his championship lead.

GP analysis: How Rosberg put Hamilton on the ropes

Having turned to parent company Daimler earlier in the season, motorsport boss Toto Wolff says recent work has even extended to changing the stitching within its drivers' gloves.

"The clutch we are giving them is not perfect," Wolff said.

"It is difficult to handle the clutch in the right way.

"Both drivers have worked on that, going as far as changing the way the glove is done in order to release it - how the glove is sewn.

"This is just one aspect as it goes to how you release it, how you hold the revs, and that is very complicated.

"Then there is the random factor of getting all that right, and that is not always very easy with the clutch."

However, Wolff says that Mercedes is only assessing data from its own cars, rather than tapping into information from customer teams such as Force India, which shares its rear-end hardware.

"We are only looking at ours," added Wolff.

"Our system is complicated, maybe more than others, but also we are more in the spotlight if it goes wrong.

"If we look at the real clutch performance versus the perceived clutch performance, and you compare this data, probably the perceived clutch data is worse because we are at the front."

Hamilton accepted the blame for his latest slow start, which was a key factor in leaving Japan with a 33-point deficit to Rosberg.

However Wolff felt that a damp line on the inside of the track, where Hamilton started, was also a factor.

"Our first assessment is that it didn't function well on the clutch release, dumping the clutch, but that is an over-simplification," he said.

"It's a complicated mechanism to deploy and it didn't function today.

"The damp line was, of course, a problem for everybody who was on the right side. You can see [Daniel] Ricciardo [starting fourth behind Hamilton] also didn't get the start right and he lost a position.

"Positions one-three-five [on the dry side] were ahead after the first couple of corners. That was a problem and it's a shame.

"That the circuit didn't dry out after it had rained overnight is bizarre."

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