Mercedes F1 team defends strategist Vowles after Austria VSC error

Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff has defended team strategist James Vowles after the decision not to pit Lewis Hamilton under the Austrian Grand Prix virtual safety car

Mercedes F1 team defends strategist Vowles after Austria VSC error

Wolff also praised the "guts" of Vowles' radio messages to Hamilton accepting responsibility.

Hamilton was the only frontrunner not to pit when his team-mate Valtteri Bottas's retirement triggered the VSC, which left him running a disgruntled fourth once he had come in.

How Mercedes outdid its own Armageddon

Vowles spoke directly to Hamilton on several occasions afterwards, admitting "It was my mistake," and adding "I've thrown away the win".

He also tried to motivate Hamilton, saying "Give us what you can" and later, "We trust in you and believe in you".

The Austrian VSC call followed Mercedes losing also race leads due to strategy choices in Australia and China, but Wolff insisted the team was fully behind Vowles.

"No, we don't need to make changes," Wolff said.

"The most important thing is to understand why an error happens, and go back into the situation and analyse it.

"I don't think that we would make an error twice. It's just that the situation is very complex, we are fighting [between] six cars and it's just a tough situation.


"For me James [pictured on podium with Hamilton in 2017] is one of the best ever, and it needs guts to come out and, in order to save the best possible result, say in front of millions of people 'That was my mistake, now you can still do this with the car you have.'"

Wolff admitted putting Vowles on the radio to make clear the pitwall had got it wrong, was a way to motivate Hamilton.


"For Lewis, leading the race comfortably and coming out in P4, it was a moment where he was really suffering," Wolff explained.

"And we thought that it wasn't all over. We wanted to recover the maximum points that we could, and at that stage we were all in pain about the mistake that we'd made.

"James coming onto the radio is the mindset that we have: we are able to say that we've done a mistake in order to close the matter, and also to give him peace of mind that there's complete acknowledgement within the team that that has gone wrong, and it was our mistake, in order make him park the thought.

"It was about extracting what was left of performance in him, and helping him out of the mind loop of 'How can this possibly have happened?' By admitting the mistake it's easier to get yourself out of the spiral."



Wolff praised Hamilton for his positive attitude in the post-race debrief, in which Mercedes staff members back in the UK also participated.



He said Hamilton had reassured the team that it had 'the best reliability', 'the fastest car in the race' and was 'the best team I've ever driven for'.

"That is his mindset," Wolff added.

shares
comments
Lance Stroll penalised after Williams's order to avoid being lapped
Previous article

Lance Stroll penalised after Williams's order to avoid being lapped

Next article

F1 drivers to have option of using DRS through Silverstone corners

F1 drivers to have option of using DRS through Silverstone corners
Load comments
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…

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
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax Plus

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021