Mercedes have found the “bug” that cost Lewis Hamilton the victory in last Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.
The British racer was on course for the victory, comfortably ahead of Kimi Raikkonen when he came in for his one and only pit stop of the afternoon.
However, with Sebastian Vettel, who had been running third, opting to stay out longer, the German benefitted from a Virtual Safety Car.
And although Hamilton believes he had the pace to cover him, Mercedes fed him the wrong lap times needed to do so based on what their software was telling them.
It was wrong.
“The issue isn’t really with the race strategy software that we use,” Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said during the Pure Pitwall debrief.
“It was an offline tool that we create these delta lap times with, and we found a bug in that tool that meant that it gave us the wrong number.
“The number that we were calculating was around 15 seconds, and in reality the number was slightly short of 13 seconds, so that was what created our delta.
“That is why we thought we were safe. We thought we had a bit of margin and then you saw the result.
“We dropped out, we were in second place and it is very difficult to overtake and we couldn’t get through.”
Shovlin added that Mercedes are taking action to avoid a repeat.
“It is really about understanding everything that went wrong, gathering all the data, and invariably it is never just one thing,” he continued.
“So there are elements that we can do better with calculating that, but we have also looked at it for future.
“We are going to make sure we have more margin because we want to be able to cover for Vettel doing an amazingly good inlap to the pits, or having an incredibly fast stop.
“So with any of these things, we look at what went wrong, work out how to solve it and then put the processes in place to make sure we don’t have a repeat.”