Hamilton, Bottas and Wolff say “party mode” ban is “worse for racing”

© Paul Ripke for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Toto Wolff say that the FIA’s multiple engine modes ban has decreased overtaking ability in the race.

The ban is thought to be implemented to prevent Mercedes from using their famous “party mode” during qualifying, but while it doesn’t seem to have slowed the German team down on Saturday, it did have an adverse effect on the race itself, according to Wolff.

“We always said that, you create one power mode for the whole race means that you haven’t got the extra spice to overtake,” the Austrian explained.

“You haven’t got the extra modes that you may decide or not to deploy in the race to overtake, and that is valid for all the small teams as for the big teams.

“I think that the race is a consequence of that decision.”

Wolff went on to praise Lewis Hamilton’s recovery drive, after he received a 10 second stop-and-go penalty at the Italian Grand Prix. The Briton managed to make his way from 30 seconds behind the last car to P7 at the end of the race.

“It is difficult to overtake in Monza, because with this TD on engine modes, you can’t just turn it up for the overtakes and you can’t turn it up either to defend. Even more the drive is very good to recover to P7.

“But obviously it’s a lost race for him and the team, and this sentiment prevails,” concluded Wolff.

Hamilton also emphasized the ban’s adverse effect on the quality of racing.

“We’re just in one mode, and it’s a fast mode that we would use to race on a much shorter part of the race, so the engine felt consistent,” Hamilton explained.

“The only thing is that it’s worse for racing in the sense of in the past you could move between modes and you had to manage the small amount of strong race engine mode because you only have a certain quota.

“I would imagine that’s probably why you see less overtaking then and perhaps in the past. It was more fun to have to manage with that and manage the power and utilise it for overtaking.

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“That’s why I wasn’t overtaking a huge amount or had a fast pace. When I came out [of the pits] I saw that I had a massive gap and it wasn’t really closing anywhere near as fast as I’d like.

“I was already on lap 20-odd by the time I came out and was sure I was going to catch them at some stage. But then I caught up and I couldn’t get by, so it didn’t feel great that’s for sure. And I had to use up a lot of more tyres to even catch the back of the train. I did the best I could.”

Valtteri Bottas, who finished in P5 and spent the last part of the race behind Lando Norris, also thinks the multiple engine modes ban hindered his overtaking ability.

“I think the main issue was lacking speed in the corners and just not being able to follow in Lesmos and then Ascari and Parabolica,” Bottas said

“It could be slightly part of the new regulations that everyone is just running constant mode in terms of trying to save and attack, so maybe there’s less overtaking because of that.

“But even in Monza, the DRS effect is quite a bit smaller because the wing is smaller, and you have less drag anyway.

“For me the core issue was trying to get close to the cars, enough to try and overtake and get like a massive tow.

“But it definitely felt pretty impossible to overtake any car that I was battling,” concluded the Finn.

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