Mercedes: Bottas radio message nothing to do with Multi 21 in Austrian GP

Mercedes has rubbished any talk that it used Multi 21 tactics of cryptic Formula 1 team orders in the Austrian Grand Prix to call off the battle between its drivers

Mercedes: Bottas radio message nothing to do with Multi 21 in Austrian GP

Valtteri Bottas had been leading the 2020 F1 season opener from Lewis Hamilton when both faced critical gearbox issues that Mercedes feared could cause them to retire from the race.

As well as both drivers being warned to keep off the kerbs, there was a great deal of intrigue when Bottas was given the radio message: "Urgent Chassis Default Two One."

That message prompted memories of the Multi 21 radio call that Red Bull famously handed out to Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix that was ignored and prompted huge controversy.

PLUS: How Bottas won F1's survival of the fittest

Asked after the race about if team orders were used, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said: "Don't get paranoid! This is nothing to do with Multi 21.

"We have never played that, unless there was a problem on the car, and we would never interfere in a fight in the first few races of a season. They were completely free to race each other.

"What we did, that we always do on both cars, we gave them the same recommendations to stay off the kerbs. And because there was no competitor basically at a certain stage, we switched the engines to a lower mode to protect the power unit.

"There was no, zero, team orders. No hidden, no subtle, and no direct."

The only time Mercedes did consider perhaps interfering with the positions was in the closing stages when Hamilton had a five-second penalty for his collision with Alex Albon.

The pit wall discussed the idea of telling Bottas to let Hamilton through so the British driver could extend a gap to protect second place, but in the end it was felt too complicated a situation to manage.

Wolff added: "Maybe with all the information afterwards we would have gotten P3. There was a discussion, but that starts to get really messy.

PLUS: How reliability overshadowed developments at the Austrian GP

"We've had it in Budapest many years ago, and we nearly got overtaken by [Max] Verstappen. The thinking that I had was that you need to explain to Valtteri what is going on, that there is a five-second penalty, and then ask Lewis in the last lap to let Valtteri pass again.

"So if Valtteri can't keep up, he can't let him past, and if [Charles] Leclerc and [Lando] Norris on fresh tyres are on his gearbox, then obviously Valtteri rather than winning the race ends up fourth. Too much complexity to do such a switch. Too much risk."

shares
comments
Tim Wright: Safety cars saved a boring Austrian GP
Previous article

Tim Wright: Safety cars saved a boring Austrian GP

Next article

Ferrari to fast track update package for F1 Styrian GP

Ferrari to fast track update package for F1 Styrian GP
Load comments
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021