The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team have admitted that the weight of their F1 car, which is rumoured to be 5kg over the 728kg target, is a cause for concern and an area they need to quickly improve upon.
Having lost out on victory in the first round of the 2017 Formula 1 season to Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, the Brackley based squad have been investigating potential reasons for the upset.
The main cause appears to be down to the SF70-H being much easier on the tyres than the F1 W08 EQ Power+, allowing driver Vettel to stay out for a longer first stint on the ultra-soft compound during the Australian Grand Prix, whilst Lewis Hamilton was forced into an early pit stop, after struggling for grip having completed far fewer laps.
Another area that stood out however was the overall weight of the car, which has risen dramatically due to the larger, more sturdy parts required and the increased forces experienced this year, causing Mercedes to soar above the recommended limit.
Obviously the heavier the machine, the slower it is also likely to be, which will in turn have a detrimental effect on lap times. Going by Sunday’s result, that sort of deficit is not something the German squad can afford to allow this season.
Mercedes Motorsport Boss Toto Wolff would not be drawn on reports from Auto Motor Und Sport that the car was in fact 5kg over the 728kg target, but he did confirm to motorsport.com that they were trying to bring the weight of the car down.
“I don’t want to go too much into detail but it’s an area we can definitely improve.
“With new regulations and the size of the cars, you need to balance out all the time between performance parts and the weight. And that’s an ongoing exercise which we are doing.”
Red Bull Racing and the Sahara Force India F1 Team have also experienced similar difficulties in trying to stay below the ideal weight benchmark, a task that is proving to be more of a handicap for teams in 2017.
For the Milton Keynes based squad it was Renault’s switch back to its 2016 MGU-K that was the main cause of its increased weight gain, whilst Force India have asked drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon to go on a diet to try to shed some extra pounds, so they have room to play with.
All three teams believe they will be able to achieve an acceptable level without too many problems however, which will then allow them to place the ballast, to aid handling, where they want it, an area they have been unable to really optimise whilst being a bit on the heavy side.