Mercedes has explained how its Sao Paulo Grand Prix weekend unravelled, admitting that any “alarm bells” only started to ring during Saturday’s Sprint encounter.

The Brackley squad entered the Brazil round, where it secured a 1-2 finish last year, amid a wave of positive momentum. Courtesy of the addition of a revised floor, Lewis Hamilton ran Max Verstappen close for victory in the United States prior to being disqualified before also ending up runner-up to the reigning World Champion in Mexico City.

Mercedes Head of Trackside Performance Ricciardo Musconi admits the team was disappointed to only qualify on the third row after enjoying an encouraging practice hour.

“The long run pace we showed in free practice was quite reassuring,” he explained via Mercedes’ post-race video review. “We didn’t think that we needed to change the car around, so we went into qualifying, and the results were around the third row.

“In a way, we were not pleased with it, and we felt the car deserved more.”

However, Mercedes’ optimism of a strong weekend were dispelled during a 24-lap Sprint race that saw both drivers plummet due to excessive tyre degradation concerns.

“The alarm bells went out during the Sprint race because after the encouraging first two laps, the degradation of our car was quite high, mainly coming from the rear axle,” he said. “At that stage we worried about our performance on the Sunday.”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 leads George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. 05.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Race Day.

Despite arranging an urgent overnight simulator session, the constraints of the revised Sprint format meant Mercedes were unable to conduct drastic set-up changes.

Having endured a troublesome time in the shortened race, Musconi concedes the German marque had already braced for a “bleak” grand prix outing at that point.

“We organised for a simulator session back at the factory, looking at the parameters we could change between Saturday and Sunday,” he revealed.

“We were hoping that addressing some of the issues we experienced on Saturday, like pushing very hard on the first couple of laps, doing a bit more management and trimming a bit the balance of the car with the flap, would have been enough to put us in a more comfortable position for Sunday.

“What came out of Sunday was quite a bleak picture resemblant of our Saturday.

“We improved the degradation a bit on the rear axle but at the same time we started suffering from understeer, so the car was struggling to turn. The pace therefore wasn’t there and we couldn’t compete at the front.”

Mercedes also opted against reverting to a pitlane start in order to make alterations to both cars because trying to recover positions would’ve exacerbated its tyre woes.

He added: “If we were changing the set up on Saturday night we’d have to take a pit lane start on Sunday, which means that you are released after all the cars have passed by the pt exit, you need to catch up to the back of the pack and cut through it which means in itself is causing tyre degradation.”

“For us, from a strategical point of view it was off the table.”

Source:  Read More 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *