Why didn’t Max Verstappen join Mercedes in Abu Dhabi donut action?

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

After the last race of the 2020 season in Abu Dhabi Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas did the traditional donuts, while Max Verstappen drove straight into the pits.

In Mercedes’ post race debrief Mercedes Motorsport Strategy Director James Vowles talked about whether post race donuts do any harm the engine or gearbox.

“At the end of the race, you may have seen both of our cars doing donuts together at the same time on the start-finish straight,“ said Vowles.

“The question is ‘is it bad for the components?’ It’s not brilliant. You are running the engine near enough on the limiter as you are going around in circles.

“The gearbox itself, it depends on how you release the power down. If you progressively put the power through it’s okay, we have generally seen that we haven’t damaged the gearbox permanently, but it’s not great for any of the set-up.

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“Clearly our car was not designed to have rear wheels spinning and rotating around in circles for 30 seconds to a minute.

“But that car also will be stripped down after the race. We had the post-season test in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday but it was built up with other components rather than the ones that were used that weekend.”

It’s a tradition for top three finishing drivers to do donuts after the final race of the season, but while Hamilton and Bottas did it, race winner Max Verstappen went straight into the pits.

“Verstappen wasn’t with us and I asked Red Bull why and I think that was just a communication error.

“They had forgotten about it and Verstappen therefore didn’t make his way to the grid,” concluded Vowles.

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