Tag: the British Grand Prix

The weakness of Mercedes at the Grand Prix celebrating 70 years of F1 (Part 3)

Pirelli increases the minimum tire pressure to protect the tires from damaging external forces such as at the British Grand Prix. But when inflated, the tires get a little more bulky, reducing the contact area of ​​the tire. This change is difficult to see with the naked eye but has serious consequences for a sensitive machine like the F1 car.

The consequences were even greater when it happened on the W11 – a superior car. It was capable of reaching high speeds in the corners thanks to the power of the engine and the great amount of compression. This put the tires under the load far more than the competition.

The tire overheating is something Mercedes has also predicted before the race. But they predict that the problem will be mainly with the front tires, as at the British Grand Prix. So Mercedes tried to preserve the front tires by changing the set-ups. However, the reality on the track is completely different. This caused the German team to fire by asking the drivers to slow down to keep the rear tires.

So why is the same condition, the same situation impacts Mercedes more than Red Bull?

The decision to let Bottas have a second tire change right after Verstappen also seems like a bizarre one. This caused the Finnish racer to quickly fall behind. Bottas criticized the home team after the race. However, in general, Mercedes’ choice at that time was not to compete with Verstappen but to find a way to escape the pressure from Charles Leclerc, a Ferrari driver emerging as a threat thanks to 1-pit tactics.

Moreover, the most important factor that caused Bottas to be called into the pit earlier than Hamilton was that the directors were concerned about the vibration from the rear tires of the W11. Hamilton was not subjected to the same vibrations, allowing the British driver to extend his second set of tires. In fact, despite the prolonged use of the second set of tires, even using the 1-pit tactic, Mercedes is unlikely to beat Verstappen.

The weakness of Mercedes at the Grand Prix celebrating 70 years of F1 (Part 2)

At the British Grand Prix, both Mercedes cars had problems with the left front tire due to the physical wear of the tires, and over the weekend, the tires of the two W11s were overheated.

Blistering tires are hard to make Mercedes give up like at the British Grand Prix, but it makes the W11 unable to fully exert its inherent strength. There are three reasons why Mercedes has problems that are completely different from the incidents that took place at the British Grand Prix.

First, Pirelli brought the F1 70’s Grand Prix to three types of tires one level softer than the British Grand Prix. In the previous race, drivers used soft-grade C1-C2-C3 tires, and over the weekend Pirelli provided tires C2-C3-C4.

The second reason is higher tire pressure. To avoid a mass tire explosion like last week, at Silverstone over the weekend, Pirelli adjusted a minimum tire pressure level of 27 psi with the front tire, 22 psi with the rear tire. At the British Grand Prix, the minimum pressure level is only 25 psi with the front tire, 21 psi with the rear tire.

Finally, the track temperature at the Grand Prix is ​​70 years higher. Race temperatures at Silverstone averaged 38 degrees Celsius, but over the weekend it was 43 degrees Celsius.

The harshness of the Silverstone track

Because of the harshness of the Silverstone track, Pirelli uses a one-level softer tire to steer the cars towards a 2-pit strategy, creating appeal and avoiding loss of safety. Pirelli’s plan has worked flawlessly. However, the use of softer tires makes them more susceptible to overheating.

So, on the same track, on August 2, two Mercedes riders can accelerate, chase and take turns to set up the fastest-lap, and on August 9, they have to limit the speed to bring the car to a safe destination.

The phenomenon of tire blistering appeared on August 2, but on a smaller scale and mainly occurs in the front tire. But the three reasons mentioned above appear at the same time that makes W11’s weaknesses manifest on a high-speed track and hot climate.