Brought to you by TJ13 contributor Tourdog
Rosbergs Roast at the end of the Monza race is only the second major failure that Mercedes has had this year. Both Lewis and Hulkenberg had Control Electronics failures at the first two races, but those were easily replaced, and went on to cover 7800 and 7100 Km respectively.
The first real failure was on Hulkenberg’s car, which occurred in China. Nico H started the next race in Bahrain with his 2nd ICE, Turbo, MGU-H and MGU-K, which tells us he most likely torched them all in China.
Rosberg’s failure at Monza was a lot less than surprising. Not only has Nico amassed the most laps run of any driver, with 1,864 (across all PU’s), but he also had the second highest mileage on his second PU of any driver. Hulkenberg has the most, but that is because the total failure of his First PU forced him to use his second for practice sessions all season.
My estimations are that Rosberg had 3263 Km on all 6 components of his PU when it failed. Those are hard kilometers too. Nico was using PU #1 for practice sessions since Austria, (he changed to PU #2 in Canada along with the others), and so this PU has mainly been used for Qualifying and Races.
You can see a breakdown of the component use in the Chancery’s Archive.
Another bit of interest is the lap times from Monza. You can see all of Nico’s times in
which posted yesterday, but here is a breakdown of the final few laps.
So, lets look at the now infamous radio call to Lewis:
“Ok Lewis we’re gunna go Strat mode 3, strat mode 3. We need to pull a gap, we need to pull a gap, don’t ask questions, just execute.”.
That went out sometime before lap 48, when it was broadcast on the FOM feed. We can assume the same call went out to Nico, as he would have been in the same position. If the stewards were about to potentially add 25 seconds to his time, every second he can gain could potentially save him a position, and curtail the potential loss of points.
If you study the times, you can see that on Lap 46, both Nico and Lewis started “turning up the wick”, so this is probably when the radio call came in.
Sebastian must have gotten that call relayed to him as well, because on the same lap his times fall.
On Lap 46 and 47, Nico and Lewis up their pace, with Lewis putting in a stormer on lap 48, of 1:26.672.
Nico’s lap times start increasing on lap 48, instead of decreasing, and go up further on lap 49 and 50, loosing almost half a second a lap. Then on lap 51, it lets go. It seems that pushing a well worn ICE was just too much, and Nico payed the price.
The other factor we should mention, is fuel.
Being that the new PU’s Mercedes brought to Monza used a completely different fuel blend, it is possible there was contamination when the fast swap was done. Mercedes did not have time to swap out fuel cells, nor completely purge the fuel system between FP3 and Quali. The compounds in the new blend may have had a negative interaction with the old ICE’s internals, further expediting Nico’s failure. It goes beyond just fuel however. Lubricants play a larger and larger part in the performance of these Engines. It is possible there was further contamination in the oil system or any number of other systems that were modified to accommodate the new unit.
In reality the choice to swap out Nico’s PU seems rather strange. Mercedes claimed they had some kind of “failure”, but then post race said it was merely a coolant leak. Granted the leak may have been difficult to find, and could have been internal, we don’t know, but the choice to do a complete PU swap in the short time between sessions Saturday seems riskier than troubleshooting and repairing the new unit.
Being that PU #3 was probably installed and tested over a week ago, and then only run in FP sessions, there shouldn’t have been any problems. My tinfoil hat is telling me there were other factors at play here.