The FIA’s new directive to ban the use of multiple engine modes during a race weekend came into effect at the Italian Grand Prix. The ban is thought to be aimed at reducing Mercedes’ qualifying speed and was heavily lobbied for by Red Bull.
However Mercedes continued to dominate qualifying despite not being able to use their famous “party mode”. Wolff reveals the team has been preparing for the ban for some time now.
“The way we operate is about extracting performance, and being as adaptable as an organisation, almost the Darwinistic principle, to confront every possible situation that comes up,” explained the Austrian.
“Once it was clear that the lobby against our quali mode has grown, much before the TD came out of the regulations, we shifted our development work towards that situation.
“Today, we’ve seen for the first time how the level of performance has changed between the teams, and there are some interesting outcomes.
“I think maybe the ones that pushed the hardest didn’t show great performance today.
“The biggest advantage we have focused on is to gain race time, and that happens tomorrow. But you don’t want to praise the day before the evening.
“We are pushing the boundaries, and therefore we’ve had a really good Saturday, and I’m very pleased for the team. Now we need to do well on Sunday.”
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Wolff again reiterated that the lack of a “party mode” in quali will provide Mercedes with more power in the race.
“We knew that this was coming, and once we knew that this was coming, we said: ‘OK, let’s use it as an opportunity’.
“I think we have a great organisation, and the mentality in Brixworth was great. They said bring it on, let’s come up with a strong mode for qualifying that we can run all race.
“Overall, we have lost very little qualifying performance, but gained a lot of performance in the race. We can run the engine much harder in the race.
“We’re only able to achieve that with a lot of research and a lot of bench running.
“So far, so good, let’s see how it pans out over the next sessions,” concluded Wolff.
After Mercedes secured a front-row lockout at the Italian Grand Prix Valtteri Bottas used the opportunity to take a little dig at Red Bull at the post qualifying press conference.
“The pace I had in the long runs and we had as a team, we’re looking strong,” said Bottas.
“With the engine regulation change for the modes, it’s going to be even better for us in the race than before. Hopefully it will be good.
“I’m not sure how happy Red Bull is now with this engine change,” concluded the Finn.
When asked if he missed using the “party mode” Lewis Hamilton gave a cheeky response.
“I don’t even think we ever had a party mode,” joked the Briton.
“It’s something someone else made up. Who knows if we even used that mode at Spa anyways?”