Mercedes F1 team forced into problems by Ferrari threat

Mercedes' technical problems in recent races are a result of the growing threat of Formula 1 rival Ferrari, according to team chief Toto Wolff

Mercedes F1 team forced into problems by Ferrari threat

The world champion team was very reliable in pre-season testing but has encountered a series of problems during race weekends, particularly on Lewis Hamilton's car.

In Russian Grand Prix qualifying, Hamilton suffered an identical power unit problem to the one he suffered in China and required parts to be flown in overnight.

In the race, his chase of team-mate Nico Rosberg ended when he encountered a water pressure problem while Rosberg had to back off because of an issue on the MGU-K.

How Hamilton's fightback ended in more pain

Speaking in a video on the Mercedes YouTube channel, team boss Wolff said: "With the regulations staying stable, you want to extract every single bit of benefit out of the engine and therefore it becomes more difficult.

"Ferrari has made a huge step over the winter and this is why we are pushing boundaries and sometimes when you reach the limits, you just need to find out. And this is where we are."

Wolff said the causes of the two problems were not yet evident but working groups have been set up to get to the bottom of them.

"Because we are pushing so hard, we had an issue on Nico's car where on the MGU-K, we saw some overtorque, which is quite a worrying signal because it might break," he said.

"With the current regulations, you are not really allowed to tell the driver so it was quite difficult to manage that.

"On Lewis's car, we had a cracked carbon pipe which looks like it being a problem on the quality of the pipe itself. We need to look at it.

"We are trying to analyse and find the root causes for the problems and it's not evident. It's a complex issue.

"There are a couple of project groups looking at each of the possible problems and I'm sure we will overcome these and come out on top of understanding the issues."

LETTER WAS A THANK YOU TO FANS

Mercedes wrote an open letter to its fans on Wednesday, responding to suggestions on social media that Rosberg is favoured over Hamilton.

"This was a letter to our real fans," Wolff said.

"What you could see on social media is that they support us, they suffer with us.

"They argue for our cause and that was so nice, so we felt we wanted to give an insight as to what was happening and how we felt and thank them for their support.

"We want to be transparent in our communication. There is nothing we are hiding.

"This is why the letter was a good example and a good way of sharing our feelings and thanking for support of our fans."

shares
comments
Max Verstappen Red Bull F1 move eases Toro Rosso "unrest" with Sainz

Previous article

Max Verstappen Red Bull F1 move eases Toro Rosso "unrest" with Sainz

Next article

Haas F1 team to switch to Ferrari's new spec engine from Spanish GP

Haas F1 team to switch to Ferrari's new spec engine from Spanish GP
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
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

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
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