Mercedes: Black cars won’t overheat

Jon Wilde
Valtteri Bottas Mercedes PA

Mercedes have insisted their cars are not in greater danger of overheating as a result of switching to a black livery this season.

The World Champions have changed from a base colour of silver to black, with the usual green detail, in support of global racial equality.

Although black, as a colour, absorbs more heat than lighter shades, Mercedes’ motorsport strategy director James Vowles has dismissed any suggestion that the change in livery can have an adverse effect on temperatures within the cars.

Although Mercedes suffered from gearbox concerns during the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, won for them by Valtteri Bottas with team-mate Lewis Hamilton fourth, they were never concerned that their cars would overheat due to being a different colour.

In Mercedes’ Austrian Grand Prix debrief video, responding to a question about how the colour of the paint on the car affects other systems, for example temperature, Vowles said: “The reality is that it doesn’t.

“Inside the engine cover there is a silver, heat-resistant lining and that is in place irrespective of the outside colour. We can’t see any difference on our radiator temperatures or other temperatures of the core systems within the car as a result of the paint colour externally.

“There’s a little bit of reflection that should exist with a lighter colour but the reality is that it has a negligible or no effect on our system temperatures.”

Hamilton, the only black driver currently competing in F1, applauded his team’s decision to change its livery to take a stand before the season began in Austria.

“It’s so important that we seize this moment and use it to educate ourselves whether you are an individual, brand or company to make real meaningful changes when it comes to ensuring equality and inclusivity,” said the six-time World Champion.

“I have personally experienced racism in my life and seen my family and friends experience racism, and I am speaking from the heart when I appeal for change.

“When I spoke to Toto about my hopes for what we could achieve as a team, I said it was so important that we stand united.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to Toto and the Mercedes Board for taking the time to listen, to talk, and to really understand my experiences and passion, and for making this important statement that we are willing to change and improve as a business.

“We want to build a legacy that goes beyond sport, and if we can be the leaders and can start building more diversity within our own business, it will send such a strong message and give others the confidence to begin a dialogue about how they can implement change.”

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