James Allison says the problems that forced Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton to retire from the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend were ‘entirely different’, and neither were related to the introduction of the new specification of power unit introduced the weekend before in France.
Bottas stopped early with a hydraulics issue that ultimately prevented him from changing gear, while Hamilton was forced out with a fuel pump issue, and Allison, the technical director of Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport, says neither were in any way associated with their recent engine upgrade.
“They weren’t the same failure, they were entirely different,” said Allison in a video on the official Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport YouTube channel.
“On Valtteri’s car it was a hydraulics failures, starting in the power steering but being felt ultimately in the ability to shift the gears, which caused his car to stop. And in Lewis’s case it was a failure of the fuel pump, meaning we couldn’t deliver fuel to the engine, and so we had to stop there as well.
“Entirely separate failures, and neither of them in any way related to the introduction of the new power unit.”
Allison is confident that the problems that the drivers faced in Austria will not mean any consequences for the drivers this weekend at the British Grand Prix, although it will not be until they’ve done thorough checks on the power units that they will be sure that neither driver will be forced to take a grid penalty.
“Are we going to have any consequential replacements of parts that might cause us sporting penalties? We hope not,” added Allison. “We think both of the failures that we had were confined to the items that failed, and they’re both things that can be replaced without having to break into the sealed areas of the car that attract sporting penalties.
“However, I say we hope not, because every time the car stops in an uncontrolled way, where a failure happens and the system is then shut down in a manner that is unusual, and the car can suffer all manner of unknown gremlins, we can’t be completely sure until we’ve done all the necessary checks to be certain that the bits of the car that are sealed, and which do attract sporting penalties, weren’t in any way affected by these uncontrolled shutdowns.
“So we’ve got a bit of work on our plates at the moment to try and make sure we’re not taking any undue risks with parts that were not to do with the failure, but might have had some consequential damage as the car shut down.
“But we don’t think so, we think we’ll be in good shape for Silverstone.”