Valtteri Bottas had a rollercoaster of a weekend at the Eifel Grand Prix. The Finn drove well enough to qualify in P1 for the race. But misery struck Bottas as early as the 18th lap of the race when his car suffered an MGU-H failure. Mercedes reacted quickly by retiring his car to save the Power Unit from taking further damage.
James Vowles, Mercedes’ Chief Strategist, revealed that the team is hoping to carry on with the same Power Unit and avoid an engine penalty for the next weekend at Portimao.
“The reason why we stopped did that [retired Bottas’ car] is we felt the system failure wasn’t hardware, but electronic. And sooner you stop it, the less damage you’re going to do to any of the systems, and the more chance that we will take no penalties with Valtteri as a result,” Vowles said in the video.
“We’ve got a lot of checks to do. And we’ll check the systems in Portimao. But hopefully, no further penalties will come as a result of this failure.”
Bottas will be hoping to avoid a grid penalty for the upcoming race weekend. With Max Verstappen, right on his tail in the championship table, Bottas cannot afford to finish yet another race below the Dutchman and yield his P2 to the Red Bull driver.
James opened up about the major problem that led to Mercedes’ decision in retiring Bottas’ car. “We could see on the data that the MGU-H, the hybrid element that produces electricity but also turbo control, wasn’t working correctly,” Vowles said.
“We tried a few switch changes with Valtteri which may bring these systems back- so through the steering wheel, he can put a default code in which may bring parts back of the system.
“It was clear, though, that it had failed completely, even after the switch changes, and as a result, we boxed the car and stopped it.”
Bottas’ DNF at Nurburgring meant that his battle with Lewis Hamilton for the championship title is nothing but over. Although Bottas is still mathematically in the race for the title, it would need a miracle to witness the Finn become a world champion this year.