Mercedes puts Lewis Hamilton’s weight disadvantage into perspective

( – It’s not unusual for Formula 1 teams to attach additional sensors to their cars on race weekends to collect data for further development. However, it rarely happens that such sensors which are not necessary for the use of the vehicle are not removed even in qualifying and in the race.

Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes was fitted with extra sensors in Melbourne


This is what happened at the Australian Grand Prix, on Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes F1 W13 E Performance. Sensors that were not fitted to George Russell were visible both on the side flanks of its underbody and under the vehicle. And that meant extra weight for Hamilton’s car.

A glowing sensor on the underbody of Hamilton’s W13, meant to measure ground clearance, was particularly striking. Apparently, Mercedes expected significant data on the behavior of “porpoising”, which is still considered the biggest problem of the “Silver Arrow”.

“In a normal year, we wouldn’t even consider leaving such sensors on the car,” admits chief strategist James Vowles in the Mercedes team’s current strategy video for the Melbourne race weekend.

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“Normally you would put in the sensors which you absolutely need to understand what is going on. But obviously this year is not a normal year for us and the car is already overweight.

Hamilton finished fourth behind Russell at Albert Park after crashing behind his team-mate during pit stops, who was able to complete his tire change in safety car conditions.

Although Hamilton was able to catch Russell towards the end of the race, problems with rising temperatures prevented the seven-time world champion from attacking. According to Vowles, it is not uncommon for the weight of the two cars to differ slightly, if only because of the large number of different parts, which can never have exactly the same weight.

Virtually no additional weight thanks to sensors

The extra sensors in Hamilton were hardly significant: “There are thousands of components that make up George and Lewis’ racing cars, and those components can’t all weigh exactly the same,” says Vowles.

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“It’s a few grams here and a few grams there, but when our cars were weighed on the FIA ​​scale it showed the difference was really only a few grams. So the time Lewis lost through the sensors was very light. And that’s exactly what we had in mind.”

Vowles points out that the data collected by the sensors is useful, but: “It’s not like we’re going to turn everything upside down and have the solution ready in one run. But at least we’ve found some clues and an understanding of what what to do to move forward.”

By the way: obesity is a topic that does not only concern Mercedes in Formula 1 2022 since the introduction of the new rules. A current video explaining why cars have become so much heavier can now be viewed on the YouTube channel. Subscribe to the channel now, activate the bell and never miss a new Formula 1 video again!

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