Mercedes motorsport strategy director James Vowles admits that they went over the limit regarding set-up in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan GP was a challenge for Mercedes. The Silver Arrows had to deal with porpoising, which in fact brought a lot of trouble. Lewis Hamilton was complaining about back pain throughout the race weekend and revealed that he “was praying” for a quicker end of Sunday’s race.
Vowles has revealed that Mercedes’ desire to improve performance affected the comfort of the drivers.
“[Lewis] is an elite athlete that will push the bounds of endurance of himself and the car. That’s what Formula 1 drivers do, that’s what makes them exceptional,” he said in Mercedes’ YouTube video.
“On this occasion, though, we pushed the package and our drivers too far; we are putting them into significant discomfort and we simply can’t do that again. Our drivers are not the only ones suffering, you will see in the media a number of comments from a number of drivers who are equally in discomfort and pain. And we have a responsibility now to make sure that this doesn’t carry on.”
According to Vowles, Mercedes are expecting a slight improvement of performance in Canada compared to Azerbaijan.
“We didn’t expect perhaps to drop back as much as we did in Baku, but that provided a platform to learn from. Montreal isn’t going to be substantially different to the last two races [Monaco and Baku]; I think we will still have a package that isn’t at the front on merit. Red Bull and Ferrari will still be the benchmark that we have to compare ourselves to.
“I think though that the large gap that you saw in qualifying in Baku perhaps won’t be that big in Montreal – it will be back down from where it was and as we go through all the races from then onwards, I am fairly sure we will find small steps and developments that push us back towards the front.”