Bottas unsure DAS would have solved Imola F1 tyre struggles

Valtteri Bottas is unsure Mercedes’ innovative dual-axis steering (DAS) device that was banned for 2021 would have solved his Formula 1 tyre struggles at Imola two weeks ago.

Bottas unsure DAS would have solved Imola F1 tyre struggles

Bottas topped both practice sessions on Friday for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and said he felt “a lot happier” with the Mercedes W12 car than he did at the opening round in Bahrain.

But Friday proved to be the peak of the Finn’s Imola weekend as he slumped to eighth place in qualifying, while teammate Lewis Hamilton took pole position, finishing over four-tenths of a second ahead.

Bottas fared little better on Sunday in the race, struggling in the lower-reaches of the top-10 before a crash with Williams’ George Russell brought his race to an early end.

Bottas and Mercedes came away from the Imola weekend citing tyre warm-up issues as being the key to his struggles, causing such a big performance swing compared to Hamilton in the sister car.

Mercedes used DAS through 2020 to allow its drivers to adjust the toe angle of the front tyres from inside the cockpit, assisting with tyre warm-up.

But Bottas did not think the now-banned device would have resolved his issues at Imola, which chiefly surrounded the rear tyres.

“I would say at Imola, the struggles in qualifying, now once we understood everything, it was 100% tyres,” Bottas said.

“My Q1 time would have been enough for the second row in Q3, and I ended up eighth. So it’s an area that we need to pay more attention to. We understand, but it also goes track by track.

“With the DAS, for sure it was helpful on that, but at Imola, the main issue for me was rear tyres, getting them warm instead of the fronts.

“The DAS system was only for the fronts. I’m sure last year we had some benefits for that, but not necessarily for Imola.”

Read Also:

Mercedes sparked intrigue throughout the paddock when it debuted DAS at pre-season testing in 2020, with the regulations already being written to ban the device for 2021.

Red Bull lodged a protest against Mercedes over the use of the device at the opening race in Austria, only for the FIA to rule it as being legal and within the regulations.

Mercedes heads into this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix braced once again for a close fight with Red Bull, the teams having won one race each so far this year.

Bottas felt that it was “impossible to say” how competitive Mercedes would be compared to Red Bull at Portimao given the swings in track characteristics between Bahrain and Imola.

“We’ve raced on two very different tracks,” Bottas said.

“Bahrain is quite unique in terms of the surface of the tarmac and the overheating issues you get normally, and Imola also completely different, really smooth tarmac and the conditions we had were pretty cold.

“Here, [there are] many question marks in terms of the tarmac. I think it’s evolved quite a bit since last year. You just don’t know.

“The only thing we’ve focused on as a team was first of all getting my car fixed [after the crash], and putting some upgrades in the car and see how it works.”

shares
comments

Related video

"Flat out" sprint races a thrill for drivers, says Leclerc
Previous article

"Flat out" sprint races a thrill for drivers, says Leclerc

Next article

Can Gasly finally fulfil AlphaTauri qualifying promise?

Can Gasly finally fulfil AlphaTauri qualifying promise?
Why few would blame Leclerc if he leaves Ferrari in future Prime

Why few would blame Leclerc if he leaves Ferrari in future

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior.

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Prime

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Prime

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022
Could F1 move to a future beyond carbon fibre? Prime

Could F1 move to a future beyond carbon fibre?

Formula 1 has ambitious goals for improving its carbon footprint, but could this include banishing its favoured composite material? Pat Symonds considers the alternatives to carbon fibre and what use, if any, those materials have in a Formula 1 setting

Formula 1
Aug 6, 2022
The traits that fuelled Alonso's unexpected Aston Martin F1 move Prime

The traits that fuelled Alonso's unexpected Aston Martin F1 move

Fernando Alonso’s bombshell switch to Aston Martin sent shockwaves through Formula 1, not least at Alpine that finds itself tangled in a contract standoff with Oscar Piastri. Not shy of a bold career move and with a CV punctuated by them, there were numerous hints that trouble was brewing.

Formula 1
Aug 4, 2022
The elements Ferrari must resolve to first save face, then win championships Prime

The elements Ferrari must resolve to first save face, then win championships

OPINION: Ferrari's Formula 1 title hopes look all but over after another strategic blunder in last week's Hungarian Grand Prix denied Charles Leclerc the chance to fight for victory, while handing it to chief rival Max Verstappen. The Scuderia now faces intense scrutiny over what it must now do to finally become a genuine factor in championship battles

Formula 1
Aug 3, 2022
The clues about Hamilton’s F1 retirement plans after Vettel decision Prime

The clues about Hamilton’s F1 retirement plans after Vettel decision

OPINION: Sebastian Vettel is set to leave Formula 1 at the end of 2022 and will, rather shockingly, be replaced by Fernando Alonso at Aston Martin. But what about the final chapter of the other driver that defined the post-Michael Schumacher era? In Hungary, Lewis Hamilton spoke about his future in the context of Vettel’s upcoming departure, which offered clues on how long it will last.

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2022
Why all signs point to F1’s Monaco special relationship continuing Prime

Why all signs point to F1’s Monaco special relationship continuing

OPINION: With more potential venues than there are slots in future calendars, rumours have been circulating that the Monaco Grand Prix could be a casualty of F1’s expansion into new markets. But Mark Gallagher thinks this is highly unlikely.

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2022