It was plain sailing until the first trip across the pond for Mercedes in 2014. 6 races down, 6 Mercedes wins.
Then disaster struck in Montreal.
Following a round of pit stops, Felipe Massa was temporarily leading the race whilst Hamilton and Rosberg squabbled over second place. Having passed the German, Lewis then ran into brake trouble, which forced him to retire.
Mercedes battled on with Rosberg, but the same design flaw struck the second Mercedes and gifting the Red Bull driver, Daniel Ricciardo his maiden F1 race win.
Mercedes played fast and loose with their race strategy today. They were almost caught out by Ferrari who split the strategy of their drivers with Kimi running the prime tyre on the second stint.
Yet behind the scenes bigger troubles than a strange race strategy were looming. The Mercedes brake problem was about to rear its head again.
Both Rosberg and Hamilton had brake problems. Lauda said Rosberg’s brakes started giving him trouble early on in the race and this led to a charging Räikkönen passing him with less than two laps to go. Hamilton too lost his brakes with 1 lap to go, but managed to hold off the Ferrari of Räikkönen.
Ferrari will be looking forward to the next race in Barcelona with the long turn 3 and high temperatures and with 6 weeks until the 2015 Canadian GP, Mercedes have work to do around the whole design and implementation of the highly complex braking and harvesting mechanisms.
Mercedes have work to do around the whole design and implementation off the highly complex braking and harvesting mechanisms.
Or it might be as simple as providing a fraction more aerodynamic cooling to the brakes.
But hopefully sacrificing elsewhere.
Well in practise I’m betting doing that won’t be so simple as it will likely have a knock on effect across the car’s aerodynamic package. Otherwise ? One solution might be Blown front axles, but that will likely have to be for the 2016 season as that system seems like it needs to be an integral part of the car design for it to work properly i.e. airflow hitting the right bits of the car further back.
Otherwise Mercedes have had various brake issues over the last few seasons and it seems they are starting to get a few tyre gremlins as well. Though nowhere near as bad before in seasons prior to 2014. We’ll have to wait and see if Ferrari’s power unit upgrades work as expected and deliver the extra horsepower as speculated about in the Italian media and if Mercedes upgrades get them a bit further ahead of Ferrari so they can keep the brakes cool. If not we could be in for a very fun season of Mercedes playing cat and mouse with Ferrari.
Merc seem (more or less) to confirm my view:
Chances are they won’t make the same mistake again – but possibly at the cost of a little performance.
One more benefit of running at the front, of course.
I bet whoever gets in front next race will open as big a gap as possible just in case their team is forced to undercut them again.
It certainly seems the Mercedes cars struggle to follow others closely for any prolonged period. Lewis said his brakes got hot when dealing with back markers just as the problem started on his car. Also in Canada last year the 2 Mercedes cars had a little tussle with each other and ran closely prior to the brake issues that struck them there. Maybe now they are having to push the machinery that little bit harder because the chasing pack is closer, they are turning up problems they hadn’t experienced previously, due to having such an advantage the team could simply manage the situation and give Nico and Lewis lower but equal settings to race each other with because even turned down a bit the advantage was still there. Now they are having their strategic hands forced by the cars chasing them. They need to pick up the quality of their strategy calls, they need to be proactive not reactive when ever possible. I really feel that if they stand firm on the ‘equal status’ thing and trying to always be fair to each driver, then it could cause them some issues later in the season.the way things are going, the Mercedes management will be forced to back one or other of their drivers by the summer break.
It’s certainly all going to get very interesting indeed.
Simple solution to the strategic issues, get 2 strategist rather than use the one. It seems like they are the only team that uses that system.
Listening to Lewis talking to the Sky crew, he said he wasn’t pushing the car at all, he was just managing the gap and had enough pace to respond to anything, even Kimi. That could be all BS, but who knows