Tag Archives: Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton: “I’m not arriving all excited…”

Lewis Hamilton insists he’s taking nothing for granted in Canada despite his strong record and the fact that his 2016 season took a turn for the better in Monaco.

Hamilton expects to have to overcome further hurdles in the course of this year.

“I feel positive coming here but of course I’m conscious of how the season’s gone so far,” he said today. “I’m not arriving all excited thinking everything’s going to go great again, just because we’ve had one win. I’m conscious that there are potholes that we could easily manoeuvre, but could also fall down.

“I’m just conscious of those bumps that are potentially ahead. If we have a smooth weekend, that will be amazing. If we have a smooth weekend in terms of performance it should be a happy weekend.”

Lewis doesn’t believe that he has any advantage over team mate Nico Rosberg in Canada, despite his winning record.

“Not at all, I don’t feel any different. Firstly you should never assume anything. That’s not really the feeling I have this weekend. I know that it’s a track that I’ve always been quick at. You look at the season and there’ll be tracks like I’ve won there, been quick there, this one’s always difficult but I have won there, but I can get back there through work.

“There’s other tracks that naturally come a little bit easier than others. This is a naturally good track for me, so hopefully I should be able to capitalise on that this weekend.

“But the weather’s all over the place, and I’ve had bad races here as well, hence I arrive here probably feeling the same as all the other drivers.”


Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

Toto Wolff praises “great team play from Nico”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that Nico Rosberg proved to be a great team player when he gave up second place to Lewis Hamilton on lap 16 of the Monaco GP.

Rosberg struggled for grip due to loss of tyre temperature and slowed down team mate Hamilton, while leader Daniel Ricciardo was able to get away. The team decided that the bigger picture was more important and having given Rosberg a lap to pick up his pace he was told to move over.

Somehow over the weekend we have struggled to put the tyres in the right window, and it looked like at the beginning we were suffering the same,” said Wolff. “The pace that Ricciardo was pulling away at it was clear that not reversing the situation between Nico and Lewis would definitely lose us the race, so we waited for quite a while and gave him more laps for the tyres to come in but it didn’t, and then finally we decided to call it because the pace was just so much slower and it was the right decision.

One thing that is maybe good to say immediately – if I had Niki [Lauda]’s red cap I would take it off because it is such a difficult circumstance, to give up the position and understand the global situation so it is great team play from Nico.

First of all, for any driver it is extremely difficult to accept such a call and we understand that. That is why we look at the situation for many laps and it lost us quite some race time… we looked at it for a couple of laps and then hoped that the tyre would switch on and then Ricciardo was 10-11 seconds gone, it was like having a damaged car and that is why we decided to make that call. We debated it for quite some time because it is not what we have done in the past. It was clear that there was a problem on the car.”

Mercedes kept Hamilton out on wets until it was dry enough to go straight to slicks without using intermediates, and that proved to be the call that won the race when Ricciardo had a bad stop.

He is part of the team so we all managed it in the right way. You could see that once he cleared Nico, then his pace was like Ricciardo’s pace. But not enough to catch up. And the only way of attempting a race win was to gamble – was to stay out on the wet tyre and it really dried up well in the first and second sector but the third sector remained wet so it was a dialogue between the driver giving the information of what he perceived out there and the discussion we had on the pit wall, whether we wanted to take the risk.

We had a 28-second gap to Nico – the pit stop was just short of 20 seconds so we knew there was 10 seconds we could play with and give up as a buffer and we never needed those seconds so it was the right call to stay out and it was an aggressive call but the right one.”

Leave a comment

Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

Barcelona clash now history, Mercedes insists

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg insist that they have put their controversial Barcelona clash behind them.

Both Mercedes drivers and their boss Toto Wolff say that the matter is closed, and their focus is now on Monaco.

Barcelona was the worst feeling but, like I always say, the true test is how you get back up when you’ve been knocked down,” said Hamilton. “It was a tough moment for all of us after the race, but it’s now chapter closed and looking ahead to Monaco.”

I was gutted after what happened in Spain,” said Rosberg. “For myself, but mostly for the team. We’re in this together and I know how hard everybody works to make these amazing cars, so for us to leave them both in the gravel is the worst possible scenario. But we’ve talked it through and now it’s time to leave it in the past.”

Clearly, Barcelona was tough to take,” said Wolff. “We came away upset at an opportunity missed, but this is racing. The drivers know how we operate. The team is responsible for giving them the best possible cars and they are responsible for getting the best out of them, and for bringing them home. When we let them down, we apologise to the, and the same goes the other way. It’s a pretty normal culture – we deal with setbacks together and we move on.”

Leave a comment

Filed under F1, F1 history, F1 News, Grand Prix News

Nico Rosberg: “It’s great if it’s a four-way battle with Ferrari”

Nico Rosberg is anticipating an exciting battle between Mercedes and Ferrari in the Bahrain GP – and the German stresses that the tyre rules mean that it will be hard to second guess exactly what his main rivals will do.

The use of three tyre compounds this year, plus the different allocations chosen by each team, has ensured that a variety of strategic permutations could work.

However this weekend it’s a little clearer at the front as the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers are all heading into the race with one new set of mediums, and two new sets of softs.

“It is going to be a tough one for sure,” he said when asked by this writer. “A lot can go on with the three different tyres, and all three will probably be used as well, for us in our case. It will for sure be an interesting race, strategy wise as well. And a lot of overtaking with different people in different situations with their tyres.”

Rosberg said that Mercedes wasn’t just eyeing Sebastian Vettel: “There’s Kimi as well, he had one of his greatest races here last year if I remember correctly, so for sure we’re keeping an eye on him. It’s great if it’s a four-way battle with Ferrari. That will be a great race, and there’s a very good chance that will be the case.”

The factor that may work against Ferrari is that Mercedes believes that the W07 benefited from cooler temperatures as qualifying went on, and that will also apply to the race.

“I think we got pretty good laps in at the end of Q3 as well, that’s part of it, and then temperatures dropping, getting a bit colder, maybe that was good for us. I’m not sure, it’s difficult to explain. It surprised us as well.”

Regarding Hamilton’s extra pace in qualifying he said: “Lewis did his homework very well.”

1 Comment

Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

Nico Rosberg: “You can really see how far we’ve come as a team…”

An upbeat Nico Rosberg says he’s been impressed by the start to the season that Mercedes has enjoyed in Barcelona this week, and especially by the fact that the team has not been afraid to add new elements to the package.

He also noted that while the car has appeared to run like clockwork the high mileage has pinpointed some reliability issues, even of they haven’t cost a lot of track time.

“It’s been a good start, and reliability is looking very good,” said Rosberg. “It’s quick, I love the way it looks, if you look at it there’s some real innovation on there, and I’m very impressed by that. You can really see how far we’ve come as a team.

“If you look five years ago we were unable to make such innovation, and now there are so many things which are ahead of the game. I’m not saying we’re definitely the quickest, but there’s some good stuff on the car, which is impressive. For sure you can feel it. Small steps every time, you know.”

Regarding the reliability problems, he said: “We found a few bits and pieces that broke on the car, and we wouldn’t have found them if we’d only done 2000kms. So that has been useful, because for sure that will help us now in the beginning of the season. No race stoppers, but still things which you don’t really want to see happen.”

Mercedes stuck with medium tires and a conservative run plan all week, and Rosberg admitted he’s looking forward to being let off the leash in next week’s test.

“Of course I love to go really fast with low fuel, I am looking forward to that. Pounding round with mediums and a lot of fuel is eventually not going to be so exciting at the end of it! So I do look forward to taking away some fuel.”

Rosberg also said that Mercedes has a good idea of where it stands in the pecking order, although inevitably he didn’t want to elaborate.

“I’m paying attention of course. We have strategists and they’re doing calculations already, so more or less we already know where we are. Would you like to know? Sorry I’m not going to say! So we know where we are, with a band of errors. Because they are able to see full tanks and so on, and after a while they get a picture of where everybody is. That’s quite fascinating to see that work, so we do have a good picture.”

Leave a comment

Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

Rosberg on the W07: “I felt at home straight away…”

The Mercedes W07 became the first 2016 F1 car to run any laps when it took to the track at Silverstone at 1015 this morning, in the hands of Nico Rosberg.

As has become a tradition Mercedes used one of its promotional or filming days to shake the car down on Pirelli ‘demo’ tyres, prior to the start of official testing at Barcelona on Monday.

Lewis Hamilton took over later in the day, and between them the drivers completed 98.2kms of running.

It’s been a special day, it’s always a great experience,” Rosberg told Sky TV’s tenacious Craig Slater, who had waited all day outside the track front gates. “I know so much about this car, but everything on paper – numbers, aerodynamic values, and what everybody has been telling me, and now to see it all come together last night in the factory.

They worked all night for the last I don’t know how many nights, and then how impressed everyone was with the details, all the mechanics got their first look at it, it was a great feeling. And then to take it around today in anger was very enjoyable, just to be out there on my own, just to feel this new machine, it was a good day.

It was a good feeling to start with for sure. I felt at home straight away. I could push as if I raced Abu Dhabi yesterday. A good beginning, but of course I look forward to Barcelona testing now.”

The car will be unveiled on Monday morning in Barcelona, although images will be released this weekend.

Leave a comment

Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

Throttle problem prompted Rosberg safety concerns

Nico Rosberg admits he had safety concerns when he started experiencing throttle pedal problems early in the Russian GP.

The German was heard asking the team what would happen if the pedal struck open, but shortly afterwards the issue forced him to pit and retire, all but ending his title hopes.

That was concerning,” he said when asked by this writer how worried he was. “A throttle [problem] is never a nice thing, especially when it was sticking. So I was definitely concerned. So that was why I asked the team what should I do if the throttle sticks, I am full on the brakes. They said there was an automatic fail safe on the car, which removes the throttle in that case when it sees a big overlap, brake and throttle – it will cut the throttle. So that was reassuring at that point.

I had a throttle stick once in Monaco in a similar way actually, in a Williams in 2006. It brought back some memories of that a little bit.

The change happened during the safety car already, so right after the start actually, and from then on I couldn’t come off throttle, so I was doing all the corners with throttle on and then eventually it the throttle on was so much that I couldn’t get around the corners any more.

It was one big step on the safety car already as it came towards me, and just another small one afterwards which meant that it was the end of it. I was trying to take my leg off the pedal, but then the knee would come up and I couldn’t steer any more, and so it was different problems coming in there.”

Rosberg said that recent reliability problems at Mercedes have been frustrating.

It is a strange one, this year it looked like we were looking so good on reliability. To then have still quite a few issues, it is surprising and it has gone worse and worse now through the season, especially in the last couple of months we had loads more issues and race stoppers and things like that. We must look into that again, and continue to improve that area. It seems we haven’t made as big steps as we thought.”

Rosberg conceded that his title chances are now remote: “You have to be realistic now. It is a lot of points. It doesn’t change my approach. I am still pushing to the maximum, and committed, and going for it mentally. So it doesn’t really change much. Disappointing in that respect today, because I was looking to close the gap today, and then anyways, going to the next race and I want to win there. That is the goal at the moment.

It is tough. So much go into a weekend like that. The preparation starts at the beginning of the week with being at the factory, discussing everything and coming here, having an awesome weekend, qualifying, race start, first corners and everything really going to plan and then to lose it in such a way is very tough.”

Leave a comment

Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

Toto Wolff: Mercedes won’t back down on Red Bull decision

Toto Wolff has reiterated that Mercedes will not supply engines to Red Bull next season, and says that no new discussions have taken place.

Wolff and Niki Lauda had a lengthy meeting with Bernie Ecclestone today, but Wolff denies that the F1 boss was trying to twist his arm and reverse the decision.

“It was a conversation about general topics – life!,” Wolff told this writer. “Bernie doesn’t twist arms, Bernie makes it very subtle. Honestly, we didn’t discuss the topic. It might sound strange, we have every day a discussion and this was a very public one, but there was nothing spectacular we discussed.

“We really took some time to analyse the situation over the summer. We tried to understand what Red Bull’s situation was, and expected or waited for some feedback, and finally when things didn’t move we decided to pursue our current strategy by supplying Williams and the independent teams, and not pursue the Red Bull option.

“We didn’t change our opinion. It got a bit confused at the beginning of the week with certain statements, but it didn’t change. We have three customers teams plus us, and this is the structure that we want to work with.”

Yesterday Ecclestone made it clear that he was frustrated that Red Bull had started to talk to Mercedes before Manor, and yet the latter managed to secure a deal. However Wolff sees no connection between the two.

“The Manor deal has no link whatsoever with Red Bull. There were many other factors which led to the decision to not pursue what were really early stage discussions.”

Wolff said that he doesn’t believe that Mercedes or Ferrari will be painted as the bad guys for not helping Red Bull.

“I don’t think that anybody put us in that bad guy situation. Every team is responsible for how you manage your business, and this is why I don’t see at all that that happened.”

Meanwhile Toto downplayed the third car option, despite having sounded enthusiastic about when asked in Suzuka.

“We need to all try and do our best to keep Red Bull in the sport, Red Bull and Toro Rosso, because Red Bull is a great brand and has done a lot for F1. If it were to happen the fall back solution would be three cars. But I’d rather have the first thing solved and have Red Bull and have three cars on top of that and have a really full grid of 24, 26 cars.

“It’s clear that not a lot of people have an appetite for three cars, for valid or not valid reasons. If Red Bull and Toro hopefully stay in the sport we’ll have 22 cars anyway next year.”

Leave a comment

Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

Mercedes confirms Manor supply deal for 2016

Mercedes will supply Manor with power units in 2016, the manufacturer has confirmed.

The British team will have current-year engines, as well as Petronas fuel, for a deal that goes beyond next season. Manor will also have Williams gearboxes and, in a deal similar to that enjoyed by Haas, Williams suspension components.

Merc boss Toto Wolff said: “Mercedes-Benz has a clear Formula One philosophy based around our works Silver Arrows team and supplying benchmark Power Units to independent customer teams. We believe this approach provides Formula One with greater strength in depth and ensures a deeper level of competitiveness throughout the field.

“In anticipation of Renault’s takeover of the Lotus F1 Team, we are pleased to announce Manor Marussia as a new customer of Mercedes-Benz. It is a tenacious team with a fantastic competitive spirit, and we are all excited to see what step forward they can make next year with their new car coupled with the Mercedes-Benz Hybrid Power Unit.”

As reported here last weekend, Wolff admitted in Japan that a Mercedes protege such as Pascal Wehrlein or Esteban Ocon (also linked to Renault) could be part of the Manor deal.

However, he suggested that whatever discount Mercedes gave to get a driver a seat could be trumped by an outsider with a big budget, given that a Manor-Mercedes would be a more competitive package than the current car.

“That could be an interesting scenario, but the harsh financial reality is that Manor needs to refinance themselves and raise the budgets and I’m not sure that we would prepare to place a driver with budgets they could probably raise in the driver markets if we were to supply engines, because it could be an attractive offer for young drivers.

“It’s a bit of a tricky situation. We haven’t got a dedicated driver programme, we have Pascal, who is with us, whose main focus is DTM, and I don’t want to take him away from that focus. He has done a great job for us and he is a very exciting young driver, but I’d rather like to see how DTM pans out. So yes, that’s a possibility, but it needs many pieces of the jigsaw to come together, and it could well not happen.”

Wolff indicated that should GP3 star Ocon want to take up a Renault offer, even for a reserve role, Mercedes would not stand in his way.

Leave a comment

Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

Mercedes mystified by lack of pace in Singapore

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admits that the team doesn’t know why its drivers struggled to find performance in Singapore – but says he hopes that the issue was specific to the street track.

Lewis Hamilton retired with an engine problem having run fourth, and his position was inherited by team mate Nico Rosberg, who was far behind the podium finishers.

I am always pessimistic side,” said Wolff. “But I don’t believe that you lose car performance from one weekend to another like we did, and someone else found 1.5 seconds. We spoke to the drivers, the degradation was massive and unexplainable from us.

We also need to stay calm as this is a very specific circuit, very specific the way the tyre operates compare to other circuits. We have Suzuka in one week, the car is the same, we haven’t lost performance of the car. We need a methodical approach.

You need to find the right balance, you cannot write it off and say that was a one-off, and on the other side you cannot say you are terrified, that would be panic mode and completely inappropriate and wrong. It is about analysing. We believe this is a circuit specific problem on tyres where we didn’t get grip, this is how you explain the gaps, and we have to show that in Suzuka unless we have that very heavy rain forecast for Saturday/Sunday.”

Wolff admits that Ferrari’s performance has picked up lately.

We have already seen that already in Monza when they bought the new engine, they continued to develop the car but we should not fall into depression. Remember Spa they had a very difficult weekend, and a car not good enough for a podium. We must stay focused and aware that we are a very solid team and solid car and solid engine.”

Leave a comment

Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News