The 2018 Austrian Grand Prix proved that almighty Mercedes are vulnerable too when a hydraulics issue sidelined Valtteri Bottas early on in the race followed by a fuel pressure issue on Lewis Hamilton’s car which resulted in a very rare DNF for the Silver Arrows.
Although his team have bagged eight wins out of eight, Toto Wolff is (as per his custom) taking nothing for granted despite the fact they can boast having one of the best cars, if not the very best, in the history of Formula 1.
As the circus heads to the rolling hills of Spielberg bad memories of last year are coming back to ‘haunt’ the team boss, “Our result in last year’s Austrian Grand Prix was the low point of the 2018 season, a double DNF after a promising front-row lockout meant that we left a lot of points on the table.
“The race was a cruel reminder of how quickly things can go wrong in our sport and that reliability and performance go hand in hand in F1.
“This year, our race finishing record has been good, but it would be complacent to ignore the fact that for two weekends in a row now, our mechanics had to perform the equivalent of ‘open-heart surgery’ on our cars.
“We’ve faced a number of different issues on different components, each of which could have easily caused us to retire, so we need to get on top of those challenges as quickly as possible.
“The forecast for Austria predicts temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius and more – combined with the reduced air density owing to the track’s location at altitude, this means that cooling could become a real challenge in Spielberg.
“Add to that the short lap and the close gaps on that circuit and our direction is clear: we need to keep working diligently, stay humble and give it everything to do a better job than we managed 12 months ago,” concluded Wolff.