Mercedes fearing “another Sunday that seems silly”


Mercedes admitted that urgent work was needed on its tire problems to avoid ending up “ridiculous” in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Logistically, it will be the most difficult turnaround for F1 teams this season to date. Only once before in 2020 have races been held on consecutive weekends on different circuits – in Austria and Hungary, which share a land border.

But Silverstone in Barcelona is a longer and comparatively more complicated trip and leaves Mercedes less time to address and resolve the reasons they couldn’t handle their tires as well as Max Verstappen’s Red Bull in the Grand Prix du 70th anniversary.

This led to a first win of the year for a non-Mercedes car, with Verstappen making the most of his decision to start on hard tires and being able to do a longer first stint than Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas on mids – plus the Red Bull had a faster race pace.

Mercedes Ground Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin believes conditions at the Catalunya circuit could be as tough for tire management as they were at Silverstone with high temperatures in midsummer.

He told RaceFans: “There is an element of urgency here because we are flying (to Spain) on Tuesday, Friday. It should be 30 ° C. The track will be a bit like Silverstone, it’s a high energy circuit.

“So we are well aware that if we fail to achieve this, we will have another Sunday that seems silly.”

Shovlin revealed that there appear to be several reasons why Mercedes’ performance was “not good enough” in race two at Silverstone.

“It’s fair to say that on the warmer days we looked less competitive,” he said.

“We knew the blisters were a problem. We knew that last week we were talking to the pilots on Sunday morning.

“What was new for us (in the race) is that we are sort of at the worst end of this problem and Red Bull seems to be at the better end of that spectrum.

“This is what we have to understand because there have been other races where everyone has been in the same boat. Why are we an outlier? At the moment, we don’t have the answer.

Pirelli has named harder tires for the next round of the World Championship, which could allow Mercedes to “hide” from their problem, Shovlin said.

“If we don’t fix it, you can probably hide a little bit on this C1 tire,” he said. “But we still have to use the tire that was causing us grief (at Silverstone). It didn’t solve the problem for us.

“Red Bull is not that far from us in the races, even when we are looking at our best. So I think, to be honest, if we don’t progress, we will also be in trouble there (Barcelona). So that’s a little where the urgency to take a little control comes from. ”

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