Mercedes: “Lewis did a fantastic job by carrying extra sensors”

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes Motorsport Strategy Director James Vowles explains how additional sensors impacted Lewis Hamilton’s car at the Australian Grand Prix.

At the Australian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton’s car was equipped with additional sensors, including the rideheight sensor that produced a visible glowing light.

Although these sensors are usually used in testing and practice, in an effort to learn more about the W13’s issues, Mercedes decided to keep them on Lewis’ car in the race.

When asked in Mercedes’ race debrief whether Mercedes managed to get good data during the race, James Vowles said:

“The answer is yes. We always need to have a good understanding and be data-driven as an organisation.

“And it was painful, because taking sensors off the car because the car is too heavy means we are losing out on information, and what we concluded from the first two races is we had too many questions without answers as a result of doing so.

“In a normal year, you wouldn’t even consider not having sensors on the car. You would add what you need to, to make sure you understand what’s going on. But obviously this isn’t a normal year and the car is overweight.”

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However, Vowles explains the difference in weight between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell’s cars was negligible.

“In terms of how it worked between the two cars, there are thousands of components that make up the racing car for George and for Lewis.

“And those components don’t weigh exactly the same amount, there is variability of a few grams here and there and the actual car weight as mentioned on the FIA scales between the two cars in the race was within a few grams of each other.

“So Lewis did a fantastic job by carrying these extra sensors. Ultimately, the cost was small, it was a matter of grams between the two, which is what we wanted.

“To answer the bulk of the question though, have we got good data? Absolutely.

“It’s not that, from this, you can suddenly find something that will turn everything on its head and will find a solution in one race, but it provides clues and understanding of what we need to do to move forwards,” concluded Vowles.

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