Mercedes Team Principal, Toto Wolff admitted that the team could struggle in today’s race due to sensor issues that first crept up last weekend.
Wolff revealed the difficulty in effectively avoiding kerbs on all 71 laps of the Styrian Grand Prix. Moreover, the Austrian is wary of the “constant massacring of the suspension”.
At last week’s Austrian Grand Prix, Red Bull’s reliability problems greatly helped Mercedes. Had Max Verstappen never retired, the team could have lost victory to the Milton-Keynes outfit and even potentially dropped out of the race.
The W11 isn’t the biggest fan of the kerbs set up around the Red Bull Ring. Packed with sensors, aggressively attacking the kerbs with the W11 is the last thing Mercedes needs on race day.
While both cars finished the race, it wasn’t completely straightforward. The team advised both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to stay off the kerbs altogether. An order that both drivers could comply with due to a lack of competition.
With Red Bull starting on the front row and Verstappen keen to make up for last week’s disappointment, Mercedes could be in a spot of bother.
Defending from Max entails some ‘optimistic’ driving which involves using the kerbs. A liberty that the team can’t afford due to the aforementioned sensor issues.
“Wherever Max is – leading or behind us – just cruising around, neatly avoiding the kerbs is not going to be possible [for Mercedes]. It is about constant massacring the suspension – that is something that will cause us [a] headache,” said Wolff as quoted by Autosport.
“So once we are settled in our position then we will be trying to avoid the kerbs. It’s a very Austria-specific topic.”
The Austrian also explained why the Brackley outfit was dealing with such issues.
“You must bear in mind that we normally, when you start the season, these developments are understood with mileage,” he said.
“We tested the cars in Barcelona then we had a four-month break without touching them, basically. So, I think it’s a little bit of learning by doing that’s happening for all teams,” concluded Wolff.