Mercedes finds multiple reasons behind recent poor starts in F1

toto wolff

An investigation carried out by the Mercedes Formula 1 team has determined there to be several reasons behind the team’s poor starts of late.

At the last two grands prix at Silverstone and Hungary, in particular, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have been beaten away off the line despite locking out the front row of the grid.

At the British Grand Prix it was Williams pair Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas who breezed past the Mercedes duo, while at the Hungaroring Ferrari team-mates Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen did likewise.

Even in the preceding race in Austria, polesitter Hamilton was slow away, falling behind Rosberg who went to claim the win at the Spielberg circuit.

Following what happened in Hungary, Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff described the situation as “unacceptable” and vowed to provide a thorough analysis.

toto wolff

Wolff told AUTOSPORT: “We’ve conducted that analysis and there is not one single factor you could name and say is the reason why our starts did not go so well.

“We’ve seen many various reasons, plus circumstances, why the starts went wrong, and there is no clear pattern. It’s just the starts weren’t great.

“In Hungary you could see the whole right side of the grid did not move forward at the start, whereas Vettel and Raikkonen, in P3 and P5, made great starts, so that was maybe circumstance.

“Another influence was the aborted start which made us overheat Lewis’ clutch, and therefore his start performance.

“I could name you many other reasons why we didn’t have the starts we expected, so we need to get on top of those problems.”

On the back of such issues Wolff could be forgiven for feeling apprehensive with regard to the new clutch-start rules due to come into force from next weekend’s Belgian GP.

The drivers will primarily be in control, with little assistance from the pitwall, leading Hamilton to suggest the starts would be “more unpredictable”, potentially even “disastrous”.

Looking ahead to Spa, Wolff added: “Clearly there will be more variables in the whole starting procedure now.

“We’ve seen the rules from the FIA, and there is definitely going to be more variability in the race starts.

“I’d rather have more variability because the driver doesn’t get it 100 per cent right, rather than the software or an engineer not calibrating it 100 per cent the right way.

“So that’s the right way forward, the way it should be, the way it was in the past.

“We are making a tiny step backwards technology wise for the sake of the entertainment and variability, but I am carefully optimistic it is going to add to the show.”


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