Mercedes says W09 "not a diva" despite lack of pace

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the team still has issues with overheating tyres that have troubled previous cars, but he insists that unlike its immediate predecessor the W09 is not a "diva".

Mercedes says W09 "not a diva" despite lack of pace
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ passes Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ in parc ferme
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Director of Motorsport

Mercedes was outpaced by Ferrari in qualifying in Bahrain, with Valtteri Bottas taking third and Lewis Hamilton fourth, before his five-place grid penalty was applied.

Wolff says that the Bahrain track, now acknowledged by Pirelli as the roughest of the season, has not played to the strengths of Mercedes.

"I always said right from the beginning that this was going to be a season where it was going to be much tougher, particularly against Ferrari and Red Bull," he said.

"I was genuine about it and I meant it, and you could see that on a track like Bahrain with a very abrasive surface and lots of heat, we struggle."

Asked if the car was a diva – in other words as difficult to optimise as the 2017 model - he said: "No, it's different.

"She's not a diva. I think the drivers feel that the car is very much together. But we just lacked the pace today here."

How they line up for the Bahrain GP...

However, he agreed that the W09 seems to share some traits with previous Brackley cars.

"In the last years we always seemed to struggle on particular circuits. Bahrain was one where we were successful in terms of results in the past, but also sometimes it was not trivial to find the right set-up.

"And it's interesting that the regulations change, the car's completely different, the tyres change, but it's a little bit within the DNA of each car to have strengths and weaknesses, and it seems that these strengths and weaknesses stay, even though everything else changes."

Wolff say the team remains open-minded about strategy for Sunday's race, despite Hamilton having the obvious opportunity to run a one-stop with softs and then mediums, having used the latter in Q2 to determine the tyre he starts with.

"Tomorrow there's two choices, there's a one-stop or there's a two-stop. I think as far as we can judge from the data from the long running, it's not clear cut.

"I think most teams are probably going to see how the race starts and how it pans out on the supersoft, and obviously we have an advantage on the soft that we can eventually go a little bit longer. But it's not clear cut what it is."

He also played down the prospects of cooler temperatures later in the race helping Mercedes with its tyre issues.

"The race is the race and everything can change as we know, and this makes the sport exciting. On pure pace tomorrow I would say the two Ferraris are clearly the favourites.

"Daniel is an extremely strong racer, and I would see him in the mix there, and I think it will be interesting to see how Valtteri is capable to get off the line and drive hard, and then Lewis is coming back.

"But on pure pace I would see the two Ferraris as the fastest cars on the grid here in Bahrain."

He also conceded that keeping car temperatures under control will be a big challenge.

"You always try and optimise how much you close up the car in order to have the best aerodynamics. In traffic every team will look at how to manage car temperatures.

"Here in Bahrain I would expect it to be a topic, because also you want to maximise your qualifying result."

 

shares
comments
Alonso feared McLaren would struggle in Bahrain

Previous article

Alonso feared McLaren would struggle in Bahrain

Next article

How decision to watch an F1 race saved a Georgia family’s lives

How decision to watch an F1 race saved a Georgia family’s lives
Load comments
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Prime

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Prime

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Prime

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. Kevin Turner looks back at the life of Switzerland's first F1 winner on the 50th anniversary of his death

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Prime

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Prime

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Prime

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Tim Wright.

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Prime

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? Stuart Codling talks to the man in charge.

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021