Mercedes’ “compact” aerodynamic package proved to be the architect of their own downfall as their W10 suffered with cooling issues at the Austrian Grand Prix.
As the Formula 1 drivers lined up on the grid for the start of Sunday’s 71-lap Austrian Grand Prix, the track temperature peaked at 51.8’C.
It barely dropped as the laps counted down, costing both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.
The duo were forced to lift and coast throughout the grand prix as their Mercedes engines overheated.
Bottas finished third while Hamilton was P5 on the day, the championship leader’s first race off the podium this season.
“That was really painful for us,” Wolff said. “Damage limitation.
“We knew that we had a real cooling issue on our car and it was worse than expected.
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“You always try to have the most compact architecture and have an aerodynamic benefit but, if it compromises you like we saw, it is unraceable.”
But while Wolff wasn’t happy with Mercedes’ performance on the day, he reckons the Austrian Grand Prix was a great advert for Formula 1.
“I think it was a fantastic race at the front.
“From a fans’ perspective seeing Max [Verstappen] and Charles [Leclerc] fight it out there was really exciting.
“But for us with our hand tied behind our back it was not so much fun.”
The race took place some 48 hours after the Formula 1 teams met with Pirelli to discuss reverting to last year’s tyres.
They voted 5:5 meaning this year’s thinner tread tyres will be used for the remainder of the season.
Wolff says Pirelli deserve credit for their part in a fantastic race.
“Congratulations to Pirelli, they deserve a high five,” he said.
“They’ve done an amazing job giving us a tyre that nobody was able to complain [about] today.”
“The leaders raced until the last minute.”
Looking ahead to the next race, the British GP, Wolff hopes the weather aids Mercedes.
“I hope for cold weather, the coldest and rainiest you can have at Silverstone but we need to get on top of our problems.”