Mercedes has won six of the seven seasonal races so far, and if Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton had not shot each other off the track in the first round of Barcelona, they would have even had a flowery white vest in Formula One season 2016.
But the fact is, that the lead of the silver arrows on the stopwatch was once greater. This was particularly evident in Montreal, because the power line with four long straight lines should actually be cut to the F1 W07 hybrid like on the body. But after seventy races, despite a pit stop, Hamilton had less than five seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who was already less than two tenths behind in qualifying. Ferrari can now use the Turbo update to get maximum power for longer, and this will melt the distance.
We looked at the speed difference in the previous year. There were about five tenths,”Mercedes Sports Director Toto Wolff analyzes. Montreal is a power line. In qualifying, it was about getting the tyres in the right window. The theoretical lap time was perhaps representative: 1:12.6 for Mercedes, 1:12.9 for Ferrari. But this is purely academic. The fact is that they are close to us –and we have to make an effort.”
Mercedes with the best qualifying drive
Because Vettel has proved with his rocket launch that Ferrari is able to correct even from the third place somewhat worse qualifications very quickly, And the SF16-H racing spear has always been good. This may also be because Mercedes still has by far the best qualifying drive mode. However, this maximum power can only be called by one round and must be driven for the race.
Mercedes has again lost its grip on the first meters since the change in the starting procedure. The start of Vettel on Sunday was “great”, analyzed Rosberg, his own “neat” and Hamilton’s “really bad”. But this is no longer the exception, but rather the rule. It’s amazing how Sebastian drove forward,”Supervisory Board Chief Niki Lauda said. “I don’t understand it,” Hamilton gets angry. “I don’t understand it.” My start was good, the start at the beginning of the formation round was fantastic –I let go of the clutch and the thing pulled away perfectly. Then I stopped, normal procedure, I let go of the clutch, but I can’t do it anymore. I don’t know why. I was really fast in the race, but that was almost a stumbling block. If the straight line had been longer, they would have passed me through.”
20 positions lost, only five won
The figures prove that Mercedes 2016 has a starting problem: Rosberg/Hamilton lost in the first round total 20 positions, but only made five good (Hamilton in Sochi from P10 to P5). Not including the safety car start in Monte Carlo, a silver arrow driver has to assume, statistically speaking, to be overtaken in the first round by at least one competitor.
This is starting to annoy Hamilton: “All weekend the starts were fantastic, But our clutch doesn’t always perform the same. It was warm and did not deliver the torque. It was a little better with Nico, but with me, the clutch just slipped. I looked at the data. I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.”
topic coupling: No problem of the product
Mercedes is of course of the opinion that it is not necessary to create a technical crisis immediately after every position loss at the start. And rightly so: if you start from the front row, a negative start-up balance is almost necessarily the result. And finally, precisely this, more shifts in position, with the amendment of the regulation that the start-ups should be put back in the hands of the drivers, should be achieved.
Nevertheless, one does not want to take the matter lightly: “We have invented the new rules, to make the start more unpredictable,”explains Wolff.”I’m sorry. In the last races we also had some really great starts. This time they weren’t so great and we have to analyze why that was, whether it was just a lack of temperature or whether Ferrari just got away much better. Then you must also be able to accept this.”
Mercedes has been buying the couplings for years from ZF Sachs (by the way, just like Ferrari). A switch to the second producer represented in Formula 1, AP, is not up for discussion because the product itself is excellent. But: As soon as Rosberg and Hamilton fail to find the optimal temperature window and grinding point under the manual start rules, the coupling reacts sensitively.
misunderstanding: Daimler does not build a new coupling
To optimize this process, the Daimler Group was asked for help with its technical know-how. However, the Wolff quote from the beginning of April, according to which Daimler is to build a new coupling for Mercedes, may have been a misunderstanding. Ultimately, it is about optimum exploitation of the potential of coupling and less about coupling itself. This is a driver/Mercedes theme and not a ZF-Sachs problem.
The fact that Vettel in Montreal, despite the short straight lines, got away so much better than the silver arrows that he was able to get back to the ideal before the first curve is not necessarily an indicator of a coupling problem: “I think, that was just at the bottom because we didn’t hit it perfectly one hundred percent,”Wolff relativizes.”It’s just that The Launch of Ferrari looked great. Maybe they got something. We have to look at this.”
Wolff: Stronger competition is”normal state”
But the fact that Ferrari and Red Bull are generally getting closer does not surprise him:”I think we are returning to a state of normality,”says the Austrian.”I think we are returning to a state of normality.” We were in a happy situation for two years, we were the dominant team. Now we see that the distances between the three or four top teams are narrowing. In the end, that’s why we’re all here. My feeling is that this is now normal.”
“Interestingly, Red Bull’s performance in qualifying was stronger than in the race, while Ferrari was strong in qualifying and in the race,”Wolff analyzes.”It’s interesting to see If you look at the long-term development curve of Ferrari, you can see that they are improving from race to race. At the beginning of the season they just had a bit of bad luck. But in Montreal one could see that Ferrari is able to win races.”
Mercedes reacts to this with continuous development; Also at the Grand Prix of Canada were new parts on the car, and on Friday a new rear wing for Baku was tested. The next big update comes after that: “We’re pushing,” says Wolff. “We’re pushing.” We will probably have an aero-upgrade ready for Silverstone, and on the engine side everyone is working hard to bring more performance. This is necessary.”