Mercedes AMG Motorsport have said that the compact radiators on the W10 were the reason why they ‘under-delivered’ at the Austrian Grand Prix.
Valtteri Bottas brought home a third place finish at the Red Bull Ring whilst Lewis Hamiton could only managed fifth overall, after sustaining front wing damage during the early stages of the Grand Prix. This is so far Mercedes’ worst result to date in the 2019 Formula 1 Season after winning all but one race in the nine races completed so far.
The conditions in Austria proved to be hot, which proved to be challenging to both Mercedes cars. Hamilton said after the Grand Prix that cooling proved to be challenge during the Grand Prix and felt that this is a issue Mercedes will need to address at future hot races.
After the Grand Prix, Mercedes revealed on their post-race YouTube show ‘Pure PitWall‘, Andrew Shovlin, the team’s Trackside Engineering Director spoke about the aggressive packaging the W10 has and how following this design has led to cooling issues in the hottest temperatures.
“Fundamentally the car doesn’t have big enough radiators,” revealed Shovlin. “And that’s something that we were a bit optimistic with how much we could get out of the cooling system.
“It’s under-delivered to what we hoped we could achieve, and it’s meant that we are carrying this issue where in the very hot races we will be struggling to keep everything cool enough. Principally to keep the power unit cool enough that we don’t do any damage to it.”
Ahead of the hot conditions, teams often add additional cooling vents on top of the chassis to assist in keeping the engine temperatures down. Mercedes’ vents were placed by the side of the cockpit as their own way of feeding air out of the engine. Shovlin explained that Mercedes opened up their bodywork to allow this method to work.
“You can increase the amount of cooling you get out of the car by opening up the bodywork exits,” explained Shovlin.
“In Austria it was 35C degrees, that actually put us at the upper end of what we could achieve just by opening the car up. So, we were on limit. When you get to that point you are really limited in your options.”
Both Bottas and Hamilton were hindered by Mercedes’ cooling issues and were unable to attack the likes of Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull Racing as they had to ‘lift and coast’ for most of the Grand Prix to help keep the car cool.
Shovlin said that Mercedes were ‘lifting and coasting’ around 400 meters per lap, which is equivalent to 10% of the Red Bull Ring‘s short layout.
“That is why they were so compromised on performance. You can also turn the engine down a bit, then it will generate less heat, but you’ve got less power and you are slower on the straights. So, it was definitely a significant limitation in Austria.
“We are working on systems – we were working on them before Austria – to try and improve this problem and we should be in a better position.
“But, it all really goes down to the fundamental design of the car, where in the push for very, very tight packaging, we have ended up being undercooled overall.”