Why Mercedes could face more headaches in upcoming F1 races

The Mercedes Formula 1 team will face more headaches in the upcoming Canadian and Azerbaijan Grands Prix if it does not get on top of its problems from Monaco

Why Mercedes could face more headaches in upcoming F1 races

Last weekend Mercedes struggled to optimise the ultra-soft Pirelli tyres, which led to Lewis Hamilton failing to make it through to the final part of qualifying.

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas qualified third but was beaten by both Ferraris and Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull in the race, as Hamilton recovered to seventh.

The result leaves Hamilton 25 points behind Monaco winner Sebastian Vettel in the title fight, and the three-time champion could yet lose further ground.

Mercedes' core problem is getting its tyres working, with its performance on the ultra-softs in Russia and Monaco this season the best examples of this.

"We are struggling to get the car nicely balanced, especially in the very slow-speed corners," explained Bottas.

"We are struggling with the rear stability. When the rear's stable, [the car is] understeering slightly and that puts more temperature in the fronts.

"When you carry more speed through the corners you gain more temperature and energy.

"Ferrari seems to have both of their axles always working but for us they're not really coming together at the same time. Not all the time."

The problem is compounded by Mercedes not enjoying the performance advantage it has had in recent seasons.

With Ferrari now a regular threat, it can take advantage on the low-energy tracks its SF70H has proven to have a broader working range on.

Time is short for Mercedes to find a solution to its Monaco headaches because the upcoming races at Montreal and Baku will pose the same problems.

"Sochi and Monte Carlo are circuits where you need a lot of traction and you have to protect the rear, but you cannot sacrifice the front too much," explained Pirelli F1 racing manager Mario Isola.

"Sliding from the rear can cause overheating, and it is a different overheating because of this smooth asphalt.

"And on the other side, you have to put some energy in the front tyres because otherwise you don't get the maximum grip.

"We will also have this effect in some other circuits, like Montreal."

Montreal and Baku are also tracks that require a lot less downforce, which could make it even harder for teams to get energy into their tyres.

"We've got to see where [the tyres] go when you start taking the downforce off the car, which is something we've not really experimented with yet," said Force India's technical director Andrew Green.

"Traditionally Montreal is quite tricky and I think Baku will be a tough one.

"It's very smooth asphalt, very low-energy input and has a really long straight.

"It's going to be a big challenge for everybody."

Hamilton has won five times in Canada, including the 2015 and 2016 races, but knows Mercedes has to work "very, very hard" if he is going to add to that tally.

He added: "As soon as we get on top of those ultra-softs, that puts us in a much better position to attack."

shares
comments
Haas against 'socialist' approach to F1 team payouts

Previous article

Haas against 'socialist' approach to F1 team payouts

Next article

Why Raikkonen is at fault for Monaco defeat

Why Raikkonen is at fault for Monaco defeat
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Mercedes
Author Jonathan Noble
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Plus

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Plus

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent Plus

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent

While Japan's fever for motor racing is well-documented, the country has yet to produce a Formula 1 superstar – but that could be about to change, says BEN EDWARDS

Formula 1
Apr 15, 2021
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021