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Mercedes F1 Tackles Tire Trouble at Japanese GP

Mercedes F1 Tackles Tire Trouble at Japanese GP

08/04/2024

At the Japanese Grand Prix, Mercedes F1 battled with unexpected tire degradation, a challenge even Toto Wolff finds baffling.

At the Japanese Grand Prix, Mercedes F1 faced significant tire degradation early in the race, a phenomenon Toto Wolff, the team principal, is still puzzled by. However, the Austrian expressed satisfaction with the decision to start on hard tires for the first, hottest phase of the race when the cars were heaviest.

“It was a challenging race. Our second and third stints were fast, comparable to the front-runners battling for the podium. Yet, a poor first stint was costly, and we must investigate why,” Wolff stated.

“In my view, opting for hard tires was the correct decision, initially offering stable pace against our direct competitors. Suddenly, we lost one to two seconds per lap, rendering a one-stop strategy unfeasible for us at that point.”

“With our tire allocation – 2 hard sets and 1 medium – we had the flexibility to consider either one or two pit stops post-red flag, hence the choice of hard tires. Ultimately, as the race progressed, tire degradation indicated that two stops were the fastest route to the checkered flag.”

“Our pace during the second and third stints was solid compared to our competitors, including McLaren and Ferrari. We knew, however, that Suzuka wouldn’t play to our strengths and, with time lost due to the offset strategy, a 6th place finish was probably the best outcome.”

“Overall, as I’ve mentioned, the weekend was better than the final results suggest. We have much to learn and will not use the track as a valid excuse; we need to be fast everywhere.”

“From what we’ve observed in Japan, the W15 is gaining speed. We’ll continue to work hard and look forward to returning to China in two weeks after a long hiatus from the calendar.”

“The race was far from easy,”

Andrew Shovlin, trackside engineering director, explained why Mercedes didn’t pit earlier at the end of the first stint: “It wasn’t an easy race. Our qualifying pace wasn’t sufficient, positioning us too far back to contend for the podium.”

“Early on, our pace was simply not good enough. Opting for hard tires at the red flag, we felt little threat from behind, which seemed our best chance to try something different.”

“Towards the end of that stint, we struggled with poor grip. Pitting earlier wasn’t an option due to traffic, so we stayed out until it cleared. Unfortunately, by then, we had lost significant time to the race leaders.”

“The second and third stints were more promising, but by that time, we had fallen too far behind to catch up. Acknowledging our current pace is insufficient, we’ll persist in our efforts to improve. Despite the tough outcome, the weekend was valuable for learning more about our car and enhancing our understanding of the W15.”

Mercedes F1 Tackles Tire Trouble at Japanese GP

Mercedes F1 Tackles Tire Trouble at Japanese GP. Mercedes F1 Tackles Tire Trouble at Japanese GP

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