Wolff: Mercedes have work cut out with new tyres at Hungarian Grand Prix
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Jul 2013   |  4:38 pm GMT  |  66 comments

Mercedes will have a “number of challenges to overcome” in this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix because they did not attend the young driver test at Silverstone, according to the team’s executive director Toto Wolff.

The Brackley-based team were banned from taking part in last week’s three-day test because they breached the rules by holding a test in Barcelona after the Spanish Grand Prix in May.

That meant that Mercedes, unlike their 10 rival teams, were not able to gain experience of the new specification of Pirelli tyre which will be introduced at the Hungaroring in response to a series of blow-outs at the British Grand Prix.

The revised tyre is based on the 2012 construction with a Kevlar belt so teams will already have had a lot of data on them already, even before the Silverstone test. Mercedes will also receive the data Pirelli collected from the 10 teams that did take part in the test.

However, Wolff is still concerned that Mercedes, who have struggled with tyre wear on their car for a number of years now, will still struggle, particularly with high track temperatures predicted this weekend.

He said: “We are under no illusions this weekend in Hungary that we have a number of challenges to overcome. First, we will need to do extra homework on Friday to understand how the new tyres work with our car.

“Then we will have to get to grips with the high temperatures, a demanding circuit and the soft and medium compound Pirelli tyres. During the race at the Nurburgring, we were overheating the tyres and we want to minimise the chance of suffering a repeat problem in Hungary, where the track temperatures will also be high.

“The team has worked thoroughly since Germany to improve the situation and we will find out how the new tyres will affect that situation, too.

“We go into the race weekend with two victories and six pole positions under our belt. Our motivation is high to score a good result that we can take into the summer break but we know there is plenty of good work needed to achieve that.”

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What’s done is done! While Mercedes thought they had done enough, it proved the contrary so they broke the rules, not with intent, but in good faith. The thing is Mercedes have not to date got on top of their rear tyre issue, so until they do that they remain a sitting duck in the race regardless of where they qualify. I sincerely hope they can resolve their issues sooner rather than later, otherwise Red Bull are going to win both championships for the fourth time.


Mercedes was banned from the YDT. But it wasn’t a pure YDT. So if Mercedes accepted the punishment for a ban on YDT and the test was later expanded to allow older drivers…

Mercedes could claim that it was a change of the punishment without a new hearing?

And get some reward for the lost time, like a free test?


Great point, makes absolute sense to me….

I’m baffled by why Merc did not contest this?

Points to a leadership not as hungry (or as cut-throat) as Ferrari and Redbull.


The Wolff doth protest too much, methinks.

I think Mercedes have been undone by the tyre failures at Silverstone. Without those failures and the subsequent change in tyre specs, I think Mercedes would have been happy with the results of the “testing debacle” – having essentially traded the YDT for 1000km testing with HAM & ROS.

Taking the media reports during the period of the test debacle at face value:

• Ross Brawn to Charlie Whiting: “Can we test for Pirelli?”

• Charlie Whiting to Ross Brawn: “Yeah, probably”

• Mercedes go and test, innocently unaware of the in-season testing fine print.

You’re kidding, right?

If F1 is the extremely professional, high-stakes business we all think it is then there would have been multiple meetings just on the subject of the proposed ‘illegal’ test complete with legal / technical opinions & SWOT analyses.

I think Mercedes saw an opportunity and mapped out a plan to weave between the rules to their advantage. All teams do this to an extent but more on the technical side of the rules. Mercedes knew they’d be busted eventually. They knew they’d embarrass the FIA with their poor rules around testing. They even suggested their own punishment (skip the YDT) as part of their defence!

I think they had it ALL worked out before they went testing and would have been happy with the overall outcome once the shouting and gnashing of teeth was over.

BUT then it all went wrong with the tyre failures at Silverstone. Previously, there was no genuine prospect of a tyre spec change before the failure (there was no chance of 100% team agreement to change in 2013). However the failures forced the FIA to act (legitimately or not) and any data Mercedes got from their Pirelli testing regarding the tyres went down the plug hole. They would have still benefited with aero / reliability testing, of course.

Now they’re squawking that they are at a disadvantage. But only for the cameras, I reckon – behind the scenes they’d be mostly just annoyed at their bad luck.

I love a good conspiracy theory 🙂


James its off topic I know but I couldnt help notice this yesterday


Do you think there will be any fallout from it and if so what?


James do you think it’s time Mercedes, in car set-up terms, unwound some qualifying performance in favour of race performance?


Hmmm, I wander if the Mercedes team had thought of that already? Maybe not, hope they read JA for more handy tips like that 🙂


I support Bolton Wonderers – the thinking mans team


Sorry, too cryptic for me. I’m afraid most football references are wasted on me 🙂


Sometimes you have to take a few steps back to go forward, however tyres has been their problem for the past 3 yr so it’s not gonna be fixed overnight


Yes, but it’s clearly not that easy!

Tornillo Amarillo

Could Susie Wolff tell information, tips and conclusions to Toto at bed time?

She did the test at Silverstone and nobody can control what happens under the bed sheets, …can they?


Wouldn’t they have different things to do than talk?


Lol yes that too..!

Tornillo Amarillo

Checking the bank account together?


Oh great gossip NOT!- Williams aren’t in a position to be offering advise to anyone back in 15th place are they ??


yet again you use your blinkers and refuse to read or accept that others have knowledge!

You are the one banging on about “if”s.

so here is one especially for you:

if you refuse to accept the possibility that Williams learnt something useful at the YDT I shall be more than happy for you to ignore me. I would also hope you would go away and forget all about F1 as the last thing they need is small minded people.


As the great Murray Walker used to say F1 is if backwards!!

At the distance we are at that is about all we can do.

Now please look at some facts:

Williams were at the YDT – Mercedes were not.

Tyres tested were several iterations later than those at the Pirelli/ Mercedes test.

Pat Symonds had just joined Williams and could well have had some comments to make from “fresh eyes”.

Williams say they lack aero not mechanically. They do not believe their lack of pace is down to how they use their tyres.

Now for one final bit of logic: only a fool refuses to believe a slower team might just have some technology worth looking copying. A deficit in one area often hides major advances in others. Teams push hardest in areas where they believe they will get the most benefit – just like ferrari last year and McLaren this have moved to pull rod front suspension. McLaren believe this is the way forward. They have not lost everything they learnt about the car that finished last year fastest – but the package does not work together so far this year.


If if if if if if .. Williams have had as much tyre issues as anyone bar Mercedes .. But you still waste line hanging on ifs.. Another poster ai will ignore


why read something and only see the bit you want rather than all of the info?

My point about engine builders was about finding out what information an engine supplier takes to another team. McLaren use Mercedes engines but it doesn’t seem to have helped Mercedes tyre heating problems. As you say Red Bull and Lotus appear to manage wheel spin better than most and share an engine supplier. Maybe Renault transfer more data than Mercedes do… or are simply better at using the McLaren built ECU!

Back on topic I repeat: If Williams learnt how to bring a tyre to its sweet spot in a particular way it would have great benefit to Mercedes. If you remember back to the Michelin days there was a benefit of using all available tyres during practice as putting a heat cycle through them without setting needing to run decent lap times would cure the rubber and allow more aggressive driving in the race right from the out lap without penalising the tyre’s life. Indeed time was when it was very rare to see a brand new clean tyre put on a car during a race.

If Williams learnt that it would have made for some fantastically useful pillow talk – if not very romantic!


if, if , if..!!-Fact-If Williams knew how to use their tyres better they would be much further up the grid and would be more useful to Mercedes.. Stop iffing and start using a little logic


but since they would be talking about comparative tyre data overall speed is irrelevant. If tyres degrade faster if abused in the first couple of laps that will be the case on any car. Just because one car is not as fast as another it doesn’t mean they use the tyres any less. With Williams using the same power and characteristics as Red Bull and Caterham we should be asking how much input engine manufacturers have when teams try to manage tyre wear.

It might take only one small comment to suggest a direction to go.


But Williams don’t use Mercedes power do they- I would suggest if that was the topic of discussion there maybe some serious benefit. (Power characteristics, KERS info, torque maps, etc) Because what the Red Bulls and Lotus seem to do well is manage wheel spin better than most and indeed the Mercedes powered cars. Some of this is suspension set up , some is engine map mapping and tuning.However the other single biggest performance differentiator between the top few cars and bottom half is aero and how this imparts on the the mechanical set ups. Williams have often said aero downforce is their limiting factor so comparing tyre usage on a Williams without knowing the rest is like trying to find a need in 3 haystacks.

Besides Mercedes are receiving all the tyre data from Pirelli for the driver tests which would further render the Williams info rather pointless !. I would suggest data is actually better than any individual team because Pirelli would have a balanced view across several teams rather than any one team anyway.


I really think RBR will be on par with Mercedes in terms of qualifying pace after the test. They’d have worked very hard to increase their overall pace but they know qualifying is the difference. They have all in all the fastest car on Sunday. I predict they will be very strong for the rest of the season, on saturdays as well. …


I can’t understand how a car manufacture company like Mercedes , is been suffering for 3 and a half years !!! with the high wear of the tires and a drink company has been so successful , go figure ; but if RBR start making road cars , for sure I buy one!!!


You do realise the race car isn’t actually manufactured by Red Bull, don’t you? They are just the money 😉


You do realise the race car isn’t actually manufactured by Mercedes, don’t you? They are just the money …


Ian not sure if your question is rhetorical 🙂


Is it not?


I know what you are trying to say, but how is Red Bull F1 not Red Bull? They are!


The hot weather that is forecasted for this weekend at Hungary, could only, but hopefully not, add to Mercedes woes.


Yes Mercedes are heading into the weekend on the backfoot but thinking about it, maybe the team aren’t so bad off.

Who knows, it may turn out on Friday that the W04 loves the new tyres and even this turns out not to be so, Hungary is a pretty difficult track to overtake on so we may see a situation like Monaco where Rosberg and Lewis deliberately go slow (in the none DRS zones) in the hope of holding on and surviving.

Also with the summer break coming up, the team will have some more time to finish their homework and thus may come out much stronger at the end of the tunnel.

All in all, this team has been the best feel-good story of the season and everybody from Wolff to the people at the factory has done a splendid job >>> No wonder Brawn wants to stick around and enjoy the fun times in 2014.

So yes, keep up the good work Mercedes for with the team being the top manufacturer in the WCC standings, that is the icing on the cake.


Lewis is about to smash his own record for he hadn’t gone beyond Hungary without recording his first win for the season.

However, in Lewis’ F1 career todate, no teammate had recorded more wins than him over the course of a season.

Valentino from montreal

Hamilton has got one of the fastest cars on the grid ..

and his under paid Teamate has got more success with it so far ….

For me anyways , the driver within a team who gets Pole and the Win @ MONACO , is the team’s fastest driver , without a doubt …


Lewis has fastest single lap pace on the grid


exactly glenb! if only merc could give lewis a good race day car!


unfortunately races are a little longer than 1 lap…


Who, not How. Sorry


How will beat Schumacher’s pole record first? Vettel or Hamilton? Or will one of them fail? Or will they even fail both? What do you think, James?


Don’t know the answer to that!


By this theory webber is better than Vettel in the 2 wins to 1 Monaco win rule? I get that some dont like Hamilton but arguing a bad point with a bad answer is poor. Both Hamilton and Rosberg are very fast and on their day can beat each other. I feel Hamilton edges Rosberg as world titles determine men from boys in consistency and raw pace . Yes I am a Hamilton fan but in my opinion vettel is better than Hamilton championships are all that matters. But I also respect others viewpoint and that’s why f1 is so unique diverse opinions and fans from all over the globe arguing who’s best . Some argue senna but you can’t look past schu. Never liked the bloke for previous misdemeanours but damn 7 titles ! In my opinion I would have went Hamilton schu as the dreamteam. Still that ships sailed : )


@ Valentino from Montreal

For sure life isn’t fair.


[mod] HAM has more points than ROS. Do you really think that these drivers care more about race wins than WDC points?


You’re missing the point! Right now HAM is still in the title race, so points DEFINITELY mean more than race wins.



When you don’t win the WDC, what else is there to discuss? Points.

Fact is, if called upon right now to recall what position Lewis and Button finished in WDC standings past 3 years, I would fail without Google at hand. I just don’t remember. But I do remeber when who won the WDC, and I remeber when Lewis and Button won theirs. Everyone rememebers winners by heart. Stat fans remember stats.


@Sebee – No one remembers the points Lewis scored when not WDC….

I would have to say I disagree, the old chestnut of how many points LH and JB scored, over their 3 seasons together, is constantly being raised by the pro JB camp when arguing who was the best driver.



Everyone here knows who won Monaco and Silverstone. No one remembers the points Lewis scored when not WDC.

Win, or I forget where you finished by the time next GP arrives. That’s the truth for majority. What they said in Top Gun is true!


Val wrong again- the guy who has finished ahead more often is the teams best driver and Lewis has the most points– which means he is the teams “lead driver”- thats right Val! And Lewis is getting faster and faster every race- soon it will be good buy Nico, thanks for warming my seat Michael.. Thanks for trying to play hardball on the money Mr Dennis and eat —t Jenson… Sorry just extra chilli for you Vsl


It should be 1-1 in terms of wins but Silverstone was a double whammy. He’s still got more points though and he’s beaten Nico 6-3 in quali.


Lewis retired way too early for you to say he had that race in the bag, there was still along way to go.


Even as Vettel was crusing around, I didn’t feel like he had it in the bag. And of course, he didn’t.


No it shouldn’t be 1-1. They used the tires wrong and I’ve always said that Lewis is a bit rough on the car.

No gifts in F1. Don’t belittle a great drive by Nico to win it.

Mike from Colombia

Rosberg lucked in on Silverstone. It was Hamilton’s, then Vettel’s.


How does that old saying go?

To finish first, first you have to….


Twaddle silverstone was in the bag, nico picked that one up from a double retirement


@ Jack

Yes and not forgetting Monaco too where Lewis didn’t punish Rosberg at the start.


Mercedes at top manufacturer in WCC standings? Does this matter?

You think Lewis can book 3 wins before season is out?


@ Sebee

Yeah in sport there are always bragging rights to be scooped up so top manufacturer means a lot to the troops in the trenches.

As for Lewis scoring 3 wins, am not sure it can happen taking into account he himself isn’t optimist about the tyre situation.


“However, in Lewis’ F1 career todate, no teammate had recorded more wins than him over the course of a season.”

Lots of drivers can say that.


@ IanC

I guess lots of drivers doesn’t mean Webber, no?


Too bad Toto. The advantage you got from the illegal test is gone.


It was declared a legal test, not illegal. And I seriously doubt they got an advantage given that Pirelli are the ones who collected the data and the drivers and team didn’t know what tyres they were on. It was a Pirelli test remember, not a Merc one.


Mercedes were found guilty of illegal in-season testing. I don’t know where you got the idea that they were cleared, but you’re wrong.


I think the point is that they didn’t really get any advantage from it.

Merc got a punishment but only because the FIA couldn’t punish Pirelli and they couldn’t exactly punish themselves for letting the test happen in the first place.


Look legal or not all teams had an option to run experience drivers at Ydt so forget it


Yeah it was legal which is why they got banned from the YDT.


Well at least fans will see plenty of running in


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