Mercedes hope that the decision to retire Valtteri Bottas from the Eifel GP after he encountered power issues will save him from an engine penalty.
After taking victory at the Russian Grand Prix and then putting his W11 on pole for Formula 1’s first Eifel Grand Prix, it seemed like Bottas’ quest for the 2020 World Championship wasn’t over after all.
But his race soon started to go downhill after a lock-up saw him concede the race lead to team-mate Lewis Hamilton, before an MGU-H issue then forced the Finn to retire.
“At the end of the VSC period Valtteri complained of a lack of power,” Vowles said in a Mercedes debrief video.
“We could see on the data that the MGU-H, the hybrid element of the car that produces electrical energy, but also turbo control, wasn’t working correctly.
“We tried a few switch changes with Valtteri which may bring these systems back, so through the steering wheel he could put a default code in that may bring back parts of the hybrid system.
“It was clear though that it had failed completely even after the switch changes and as a result we boxed the car and stopped it.”
With Mercedes trying to find a fix for the hybrid element of the power unit but nothing working, they decided to retire the car in hope that the problem can be resolved without needing to take new parts, and therefore risk picking up a grid penalty.
“The reason why we did that is we felt that the system failure wasn’t hardware but actually electronic, and the sooner you stop it the less damage you are going to do to any of the systems and the more chance that we will take no penalties with Valtteri as a result,” said Vowles.
“We’ve got a lot of checks to do and we will check the systems in Portimao but hopefully no further penalties will come as a result of this failure.”
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Hamilton went on to win the Eifel Grand Prix and now holds a 69-point advantage over Bottas in the Drivers’ Championship, leading to the Finn admitting he needs a “miracle” to overturn the deficit.
“Now I understand the gap to Lewis is pretty big in terms of points. Definitely would need a miracle,” he told Motorsport.com.
“But as always, [there is] no point to give up. You need to keep the bar high and keep trying. We’ll see.
“Disappointed is the best word.”
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