Without a doubt, the team Mercedes will remember for a long time what happened in the Sakhir Grand Prize de F1. It is that the multiple team champion of the Maximum made a terrible mistake in the pit stop of its pilots that deprived them of achieving a double and handed the triumph to the Mexican on a tray Sergio Pérez (Racing Point).
The incident occurred during the second pit stop of the English George Russell, substitute for Lewis Hamilton for having coronavirus; and from Finnish Valtteri Bottas during a caution and when the two Black Arrows topped the standings. Both drivers entered at the same time, but the mixed tires were fitted. As a result, Russell had to enter the pits on the next lap to put on the tires that belonged to them and thus avoid a penalty.
But what happened and who was the culprit? Andrew ShovlinMercedes engineering director has an idea of what happened. "We haven't had enough time to get a full and complete understanding of what happened, but we have found an important clue"explained the engineer.
“It has to do with the way the radio system prioritizes messages. When Ron Meadows, our sporting director, called the mechanics and asked them to prepare the tires for the two drivers, there were several simultaneous transmissions at that time on the radio system. " said.
“The system knows how to prioritize the messages that come from Ron, because the most important thing is that the tires are there: more than what a driver or any other member of the team says. But apparently there was a period in which the system decided to let the prioritized message pass and we missed a key part of the transmission ", Anadio.
And this had a consequence, according to Shovlin's testimony: “This meant that half of the mechanics in charge of the tires did not get the message and the other half did. Therefore, the cars reached the pitlane and not all the tires were ready ”.
This technical failure unleashed real chaos as Russell came out on the wrong front tires, while Bottas had to put on his old set of tires because he had no new tires left. "The root of the problem was that we missed a key message at a key point"Shovlin summed up.
The failure left Russell in a fury as he had a brilliant career that even made Bottas a fool. After this incident, he ranked fifth in the standings, but advanced positions and reached second place. When he was about to start the attack on the Mexican, a puncture forced him to go through the pits again and finally finished ninth behind his teammate.