Toto Wolff admits Mercedes will start the Hungarian Grand Prix a step behind its rivals after missing out on running Pirelli’s new tires in Formula 1’s Silverstone young driver test.
Mercedes was banned for the test – at which teams were permitted to run current race drivers to gain experience of the new compounds – following its illegal tire run at Barcelona. Team director Wolff concedes Mercedes will have its work cut out to try and make up for the lack of running, particularly as the high predicted temperatures could exacerbate the team’s existing tire wear problems.
“We are under no illusions this weekend in Hungary [that] we have a number of challenges to overcome,” Wolff said. “First, we will need to do extra homework on Friday to understand how the new tires work with our car. Then we will have to get to grips with the high temperatures, a demanding circuit and the soft and medium compound Pirelli tires.
“During the race at the Nurburgring, we were overheating the tires and we want to minimize the chance of suffering a repeat problem in Hungary, where the track temperatures will also be high. The team has worked thoroughly since Germany to improve the situation and we will find out how the new tires will affect that situation, too.”
Mercedes did at least receive data from Pirelli about its new tires following Silverstone, but Wolff says that information does not guarantee an easy transition.
“We go into the race weekend with two victories and six pole positions under our belt,” he said. “Our motivation is high to score a good result that we can take into the summer break but we know there is plenty of good work needed to achieve that.”