Mercedes explains "painful" Austria Formula 1 cooling issues

Mercedes Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff says it was "painful" to see Valtteri Bottas's and Lewis Hamilton's cars handicapped by cooling issues in the Austrian Grand Prix

Mercedes explains "painful" Austria Formula 1 cooling issues

Both cars ran Mercedes' most extreme cooling set-up available in Austria, but were still forced to run at restricted power.

Bottas and Hamilton, who finished third and fifth, also had to compromise their lap times with extensive lifting and coasting as they attempted to cool their power units.

Wolff acknowledged that controlling temperatures had been an issue all year, but explained that unusually high ambient temperatures of 34-35C and the 660m altitude of the Red Bull Ring tipped the power unit over the edge.

"We knew that it was our Achilles' heel, and we were carrying the problem since the beginning of the season," said Wolff.

"We tried to work on mitigating the performance loss, but at the end, it was really painful to watch, cruising and not being able to defend or attack."

Asked by Autosport whether Mercedes had a safety margin, Wolff added: "We were right on the limit, we couldn't do anything any more.

"It was already very damaging for performance, what we did. There was no step left any more."

Bottas said the Austrian GP was the most difficult race he had experienced on engine management, and explained that small miscalculations had exacerbated Mercedes' cooling issues.

"We were prepared to be saving quite a lot, but not this much," said Bottas.

"We knew it was going to be hot, but we calculated it a tiny bit wrong as well.

"I also think the lap time estimates for the lift and coast were not quite spot on. The more we had to do lift and coast, we were losing bigger chunks of time than we actually predicted.

"For me it was the hardest race in terms of power unit management, temperature management, I've never had to manage it so much.

"Once it gets over a certain point it gets very difficult with big amounts of lift and coast to then also find the braking points, and be consistent.

"Sometimes we had to add more and more metres of lift and coast, and had to adapt all the time on the braking and everything, so [it was] quite difficult.

"Also we couldn't run the full power of the engine, because of temperatures, so that was costing quite a bit of lap time as well.

"So it was tricky, attacking and defending was pretty much impossible, and always if there was a car close ahead I was getting brighter, bigger warnings on the dash."

Wolff conceded there was an urgent need for Mercedes to get on top of its cooling issues ahead of the remaining run of European races before the summer break.

"There is no question, there is no alternative than to fix our problems for the coming hot European races, Hockenheim and Budapest," he said.

"The question is not how or if, but we will react. There is no other option."

shares
comments
Why Verstappen escaped a punishment like Vettel's for Austria move

Previous article

Why Verstappen escaped a punishment like Vettel's for Austria move

Next article

Honda boss Tanabe had "no idea" what to do for Austrian GP F1 podium

Honda boss Tanabe had "no idea" what to do for Austrian GP F1 podium
Load comments
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Plus

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021