Reliability issues over the Canadian Grand Prix weekend were a real “wake-up call” for Mercedes, insists team boss Toto Wolff.
Despite Lewis Hamilton inheriting his fifth win out of the opening seven races this season in Montreal, the Brackley-based outfit were hit by reliability gremlins on both cars.
Valtteri Bottas’s first practice session was halted by a problem with the fuel system, while a hydraulic leak found on Hamilton’s car on the morning of the race put him in jeopardy of not being able to compete.
Wolff admitted it was “fortunate” both issues were discovered early where the team could rectify them in good time, praising the skill of the mechanics who solved both mechanical hindrances.
“Canada was something of a wake-up call for us,” said Wolff.
“After a run of very good reliability over the opening six races, we experienced a number of problems over the course of the weekend, almost all of which were of our own making – from the problem with the fuel system on Valtteri’s car in FP1 to the hydraulic leak on Lewis’ car which we had to fix on the morning before the race.
“We were fortunate that those reliability issues were exposed when we still had the chance to solve them, but we know that they could have easily ruined our weekend and it is down to the great skill of our mechanics that they didn’t.”
Ferrari’s impressive straight-line speed in Canada has Wolff concerned ahead of this weekend’s French Grand Prix, with the Circuit Paul Ricard sharing similarities to Montreal’s layout.
Although Mercedes is optimistic the track should play more into its hands with a greater variation on corner speeds, it demands a high level standard to right the wrongs of the previous event.
“We expect another tough fight in France next weekend,” Wolff added. “The circuit features some similarities to Montreal and the long straights will present a challenge for us.
“However, unlike Canada, the corner characteristics are spread across a range of speeds, which should play to our advantage. We’re looking forward to the chance to put a few things right again.
“Part of our strength over the past three months was that the entire team – at the track, in Brackley and in Brixworth – delivered to a very high level and we need to make sure that we achieve the same high standard again for France.”