D Thursday is the PR day before a grand Prix. auto motor und sport will find stories and rumors in the paddock for you. We ask the engineers what's new about the car and the drivers how they assess the race. Here is our foray through the ten garages.
Mercedes is leading the world championships and is still bringing its third major upgrade this year. Underbody, baffles, the side pods cladding and the rear wing end plates are new. All with the aim of improving the flow to the stern and increasing downforce. The development step should be worth three to four tenths. The cooling system has also been improved. “If it stays 40 degrees, we still have a problem. If the temperature drops a few degrees, we're still at the limit, ”believes Lewis Hamilton. The engineers say: “If we could drive the Austrian GP again, we would look better. But we wouldn't have won against Red Bull even then. ”
Mercedes leads the World Cup with 164 points and still undertakes a show of strength in the middle of the season to set itself apart from the competition. “That's what I like about the team,” praised Valtteri Bottas: “Nothing is enough for them. If they have a head start, they want to expand it. ”An engineer puts this into perspective:“ This upgrade was already being considered in April. We couldn't have known that we would have that much lead at half-time of the season. ”The story with the lightweight chassis is not true, by the way.
Ferrari is kicking the Silverstone specification in Hockenheim. This is not a big step to be expected from the Italians. Nevertheless, Ferrari is not without a chance. Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc could play the route layout and the great heat in the cards. Vettel is still looking for the perfect balance for his driving style: “We analyzed again why things went so much better in the Silverstone race than in practice. There are a few ideas how we can solve that. '
Leclerc reveals why he has made such a big leap since the French GP:' Until then, I had adapted my driving style to the car. Since the race at Paul Ricard, I've been adapting the car more to my driving style. ”Ferrari recently came under pressure not only because of the defeats Mercedes. Red Bull caught up with the Crown Prince, some even overtook it. Vettel does not let himselfconfused: “Our target is Mercedes. You are the benchmark, not Red Bull. “
Red Bull shows a new trick for the impending heat battle at Hockenheim. An elongated chimney with lamellas was attached to the airbox. Max Verstappen asks his team to step on the gas. The fact that Red Bull is about to overtake Ferrari is not enough for the Dutchman: “I want to win. The challenge is to beat Mercedes. Unfortunately, the gap to Mercedes is still bigger than we'd like. Honda also has to improve in order to reach the level of Mercedes and Ferrari. ”
Verstappen sees the advantage of Mercedes in the fact that the Silver Arrows generally produce more downforce. “With us it varies depending on the route. Sometimes we drive with more, sometimes with less contact pressure than the others, depending on how we can better balance the car. At Silverstone we tried it with less downforce and it worked surprisingly well. ”
Pierre Gasly didn't seem much more relaxed despite his good performance at Silverstone. He knows that he has to deliver at Red Bull every time. And that Silverstone still wasn't what its bosses wanted it to be. Gasly describes the step forward as the result of hard work. Verstappen says somewhat contemptuously: “I don't look at the other side of the garage, but things have been going better since Pierre took over my set-up.” Helmut Marko confirmed this at Silverstone: “Gasly shouldn't think, but accelerate. He should take Max's setup and then adapt it to his driving style. ”
Part 1 of the B version is here. In Hockenheim, the RP19 is getting a new rear wing and diffuser and an engine cover that retracts more strongly at the rear. For this, many components had to be repositioned under the cladding. The mirrors have also been repositioned. The goal is clear: the diffuser should achieve more downforce in the rear. The season is now entering its crucial phase for Sergio Perez. “We have to get the big points nowmake ”, demands Perez. The Mexican does not see everything lost: “The gaps in midfield are still small. We could catch up with a few good races.
Williams is bringing new parts to the car again. Robert Kubica warns against expecting a miracle from the bottom of the table: 'We're too far behind for that.' It's not even clear how great the progress of the Silverstone upgrade was. “It was difficult to estimate because of the cool temperatures and the new asphalt. We should have a clearer picture after Hockenheim. '
Nico Hülkenberg fondly remembers last year's GP:' My best race of the whole season. It was awesome in front of so many people. When the grandstands in Hockenheim are packed, it creates this magical atmosphere that you can also feel as a driver. 'Hülkenberg's two-and-a-half year balance sheet at Renault is not that positive:' We cannot be completely satisfied with what we have achieved. There were too many missed opportunities. And the pace of development is too slow. We should be where McLaren is now. 'Then the conciliatory:' We see light at the end of the tunnel. 'That's why the Rhinelander would like to have a fourth season at Renault.
Toro Rosso makes you mobile. Underbody and baffles are new. That is the answer to the fact that Red Bull's B-Team has recently weakened a bit. Alexander Albon complains: “We actually have a good car. But the results went up and down too much. “Albon is still mourning a possible 8th place at Silverstone. The Thai was not allowed to unwind the urgently needed second pit stop. His car was electrified: 'It would have been too dangerous for anyone to touch the car.'
The experiment continues. Romain Grosjean sits in the Melbourne specification, Kevin Magnussen in the HaasF1 with the latest development status. In Hockenheim, new baffles, a modified underbody and revised rear wing end plates were added. Grosjean finally wantsfind out whether reality confirms what his feeling has been telling him since the Spanish GP. “The upgrades didn't make the car any better. The Melbourne spec feels better at the corner entry. And it's easier to manage the tires. '
The tree has been on fire in the US team since the two drivers collided at Silverstone. “Inexcusable,” said team boss Guenther Steiner, summarizing the incident in one word, which withheld the team possible points but also answers to many questions. After the race there was a lot of lecture for both drivers combined with the memory of what they had made out in Barcelona. 'In tight situations someone has to give in for the team.' Rumors that the US racing team will replace one of the two drivers after the summer break are not directly denied. They want to examine the situation and then decide.
Carlos Sainz has to think twice when you want to know the McLaren secret from him. 'If there was a real secret, I wouldn't reveal it,' smiles the Spaniard. Looking back on the first ten races, Sainz finds a quality that distinguishes McLaren this year and has brought it up to fourth place. “We didn't always have the fourth fastest car. We scored maximum points where we didn't have it. This is what sets us apart. “For example, the former Renault driver doesn't think the McLaren MCL34 is better than the Renault R.S. 19:“ I think the two cars are about equally good. We're just getting more out of our package. '
Alfa-Sauber wants to continue its good series. In the last three races there were championship points every time. With that Kimi Raikkonen achieved a countable result in 7 out of 10 races. The Finn praises and warns: “All new parts that we bring work. As a small team, however, it also takes longer before new parts come in. “And by the way: Team manager Beat Zehnder is celebrating 25 years of service as the Swiss team manager in Hockenheim. Company founder Peter Sauber asked the former chief mechanic at a party after the 1994 GP in England what he thought of a promotion. Zehnder slept over a night and said yes.