Never seen before turbo-charger issues caused Valtteri Bottas to retire on lap 39 from the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix, Toto Wolff has revealed ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.
The retirement, the first for Mercedes in 2017, was described by Wolff as “painful.”
“We’ve identified the root cause of the problem, which was the turbo,” he commented on Monday.
However, he did admit Mercedes “haven’t seen that defect before.”
Mercedes suffered multiple reliability problems in 2016, which subsequently affected performance of their W07 in China, Russia and most notably, Malaysia; when Lewis Hamilton was victim of the only reliability-related retirement of their 2016 season.
Valtteri Bottas was using his first of four turbo-charger power unit elements during the Spanish Grand Prix. It’s highly likely, but not officially confirmed, that he will take a new turbo in Monaco, which won’t incur him any penalty.
Despite this, Wolff still believes the failure in Spain “shows you that [Mercedes] need to be double diligent.”
“This is a technical sport and if you stretch your limits, you’ll encounter technical problems,” he admitted. Interestingly, though, Wolff earlier said this year’s enticing battle with Ferrari “is going to stretch us to our limits.”
Taking the literal implication of the words, it suggests Mercedes are not swimming in clear water when it comes to understanding the reliability of their power unit.
Fortunately for the them, Monaco’s tight and small layou does not put major strain on the power unit.