Tyres biggest 'denominator' in F1 title fight - Toto Wolff
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes the use and understanding of Pirelli’s tyres is the most important factor in this year’s title fight between his squad and Ferrari.
Mercedes, World Champions for the last four years, trails Ferrari by 20 points in the Constructors’ Championship, having taken three wins to the four amassed by its Italian opponent.
Red Bull, which trails both teams in the standings, has also taken three Grands Prix this year.
Mercedes has also tasted defeat at historically strong venues, its three-, four-, and five-year winning streaks in Canada, Austria and Britain respectively coming to an end.
“I think what we’ve seen this season is a little bit of a different pattern,” said Wolff.
“Everybody brings updates to every race and there is never a silver bullet that provides you three tenths or four tenths, which was the difference between us and Ferrari last year.
“It is just a constant learning of the tyre which is the single most important denominator of performance.
“You get it right and you get it wrong.
“I believe that if we would have had 10 degrees less temperature [in qualifying], maybe we would have had a bigger gap and maybe the same [in the race].
“But it is what it is and we just need to learn, understand and just try to get in control of the tyres in the best possible way.
“I would have loved for us to build a gap in Austria, Montreal and Silverstone because we lose some in Hungary and we lose some in Singapore.
“But we will look at it now and try to fight and score as many points as possible.”
Wolff also identified the start procedure as an area for improvement in the wake of Lewis Hamilton’s slow getaway at Silverstone, which ultimately led to his contact with Kimi Raikkonen.
“I think the first thing we need to understand is where can we improve and where can we engineer,” said Wolff.
“We need to find some performance in the race starts to avoid incidents like we saw. This is something we can change.”