Mercedes seeking clutch solution to poor starts

Mercedes is working with parent company Daimler on hardware changes to its clutch in a bid to get on top of its troubled starts so far this year.

Mercedes seeking clutch solution to poor starts
Start action: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07, Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38 and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07
Start action: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07, Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38 and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07
Start action: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07 leads
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid leads at the start of the race
Start action
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF16-H leads at the start of the race
Start action: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07, Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38 and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07

Despite locking out the front row of the grid in Australia and Bahrain, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have both faced troubles getting away at the starts.

In Australia, the pair of them were jumped by Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen away from the line, while in Bahrain a poor getaway hindered Hamilton and he got caught up in a first corner incident with Valtteri Bottas.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has revealed that the team believes the issues it faces are related to hardware problems with its clutch – and a fix is being worked on.

"We tend to believe that it is more a hardware issue that a control electronics problem," he explained.

"We cannot solve that from one race to another, and we are working on trying to sort it out.

"The way we assess clutches, the way we run them and the way we calibrate them, and how the drivers use them, needs to be optimised.

"The collaboration with Daimler is about optimising the hardware and that takes a little bit of time. When we will have results, we are not sure yet."

Driver variability

The Mercedes starts problem is made more complicated by the fact that the issues both drivers have faced have not been identical.

Furthermore, Hamilton has had worse getaways that teammate Rosberg, despite there being no logical explanation for it.

Wolff believed, however, that there may be no proper explanation for why that is, and it could just be circumstance.

"I think it is more random," said Wolff. "When you look at Nico's start to the formation lap [in Bahrain] by mistake, he chose second gear. It went into anti-stall. All that is possible and that was the purpose of the change of regulations.

"[After that] both starts were average so before pre-empting the root cause of the problem I would rather refrain from saying something."

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