Mercedes Reveal Their Intentions Behind Repeated Bottas Engine Penalties

Published 10/28/2021, 7:51 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 22, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in the garage during practice REUTERS/Mike Blake


Ever since Valtteri Bottas officially signed for the Alfa Romeo Racing, it looked like the Finn had just dropped a giant burden off his head. The Mercedes driver looked more challenging, as he even went on to win the Turkish Grand Prix after delivering a mind-blowing comeback drive at Monza.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

However, one thing has prevented Bottas from pursuing bigger successes – Mercedes themselves. Despite Bottas looking challenging enough in Austin, Mercedes announced that the Finn would carry a new ICE, meaning he would also receive a 5-place grid penalty.

Subsequently, accusations poured in, with many slamming Mercedes for ‘favoring’ Lewis Hamilton by keeping Bottas away from the top 3. Well, according to Motorsport strategy director, James Vowles, the reason is far from favoring the title contender.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

What did the Mercedes strategy director say?

The British engineer reckoned that the frequent component changes in Bottas’ car are the result of balancing performance and reliability.

The reason is that we are balancing performance versus reliability to the end of the season,” he said during the post-race debrief on social media.

One failure to finish a race be it because of a chassis or a power unit fault would be catastrophic for the championship. And as a result of that, we are managing that in the best way possible to the end of the year. In the case of Valtteri, that meant taking one further ICE to make sure we had absolutely the best compromise.”

Did Valtteri Bottas’ pace improve with the ICE change?

Well, Vowles grazed over the answer, ‘No,’ but finally affirmed that there was indeed a minor improvement in pace for Bottas at COTA.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

As to whether it improved his performance, yes, a small amount. But, it is more about the balance across the remainder of the season than one event. So, this change, as painful as it was during the Austin Grand Prix, will actually pay dividends across the next few races,” he said.

Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 22, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in the pits during practice REUTERS/Mike Blake

Bottas is certainly not happy with Mercedes’ decisions in recent weeks, obstructing the Finn from clinching podium positions. But there’s hardly anything he could do about it, with the trigger button in the hands of Toto Wolff.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Hence, Bottas will be aching to return to the mid-field, where it is likely that Alfa Romeo will treat the Finn as the number 1 driver. But will he ever manage to secure the equal amount of success he garnered at Mercedes AMG?

Watch Story: Road cars inspired from F1 technology

Enjoyed reading this article? Download our exclusive app to get 24x7 coverage, latest memes and social media banter. Click here to download.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Rohit Kumar

1419 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT