Mercedes says it will bring updated parts to its W11 as it seeks to alleviate the gearbox-related problem that affected both cars at Formula 1’s Austrian Grand Prix.
Mercedes dominated the timesheets at the Red Bull Ring – where Formula 1 has remained for the upcoming Styrian Grand Prix – but suffered reliability concerns over its gearbox.
It had to inform Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton to avoid the aggressive kerbs around the Red Bull Ring and feared that either or both drivers could suffer an instant retirement.
Bottas went on to take victory, with second-on-the-road Hamilton dropping to fourth after a time penalty, but Mercedes will attempt to address the problem ahead of the next event.
“The result of the first race looks good on paper, but the reality is that we were fortunate to finish the race,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
“Reliability caused us real concern and it is something we are working on as our highest priority.
“Our main problems were with the electrical components of the gearbox, caused by the aggressive kerbs in Spielberg.
“We first noticed the issue on Friday and immediately started working on mitigations for the next races, both at the factory and at the track. We will run new components this weekend to improve the situation.”
Mercedes’ Strategy Director James Vowles nonetheless cautioned that it is unlikely to be a simple fix for the marque.
“It’s a complex problem,” he said. “If it was something straightforward, we would have done our best to fix it last week and clearly we didn’t.
“All we know right now is there are electrical elements of the gearboxes that are suffering, and we need to do more in order to get them through a Grand Prix.
“We spoke to the drivers before the race, we gave them a briefing on what was expected and where to go to.
“But in reality, the problems were perhaps worse than we anticipated, and we had to react even more aggressively during the course of the race.
“By avoiding the kerbs, it’s not free. Clearly you are going to lose lap time as a result. To give you an idea, it’s a couple of tenths around here.
“Now that’s something that we can afford to do for a few laps but not necessarily all race and that’s part of the problem.
“The problem is that both drivers were pushing each other and pushing for the win of the race and the reality behind that is there’s a compromise in the balance between using the kerbs and gaining the lap time or keeping the car in one piece to the end.”