Mercedes would be “foolish” to not expect a repeat of the tyre blistering issues seen last Sunday at Silverstone that led to its first defeat of the Formula 1 season.
After dominating in qualifying for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Mercedes struggled with severe blistering on its rear tyres through the race amid high track temperatures.
Both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas reported recurring issues through the race as they suffered on the softer compound tyres supplied by Pirelli for the second Silverstone race.
It allowed Max Verstappen to snatch victory for Red Bull thanks to superior tyre management, ending Mercedes’ streak of wins to start the 2020 campaign.
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Mercedes was left eager to learn from the problems ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, where a high track temperature is expected to make tyre management a challenge once again.
Speaking in Mercedes’ post-race debrief video, trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said it could not rule out a repeat of the same blistering problem in Spain.
“I think we’d be foolish to say that we are not going to see this problem again and we are not going to see it in Spain,” Shovlin said.
“We need to be looking at solutions and if we can make good progress this week [to] try and understand exactly the nature of our problem and that’s why were we so much worse than the others, then I’d like to think we can get on top of it for Spain.
“But there’s no doubt Spain is going to be tough. Spa after Spain, that’s another very high-energy circuit where you can get blistering.
“Our focus in terms of performance is all about how can we get the tyres cooler, how can we avoid this problem.
“Hopefully we won’t see it again, but I think Spain will be a good test of whether we have made the progress that we need to.”
Shovlin explained how the high temperatures at Silverstone made it difficult for Hamilton and Bottas to keep the rear tyres cool, noting that it was a new issue not encountered by the team so far this season.
“The issue on the rear, that’s one of temperature,” Shovlin said.
“We were getting the centre of the tyre very hot. The issue there is, when it gets hot, it starts sliding and it generates more heat, and the pressures go up.
“You end up with a bit of a vicious circle, where you are losing grip and keeping it under control becomes harder and harder as you go through the stint.
“We need to look at how we can improve that issue with the rear, try and understand exactly what was happening because it is the first time we have seen it this year, and just make sure that we have some tools in place to deal with it better when we get to another hot race.”