Mercedes explains miscommunication: "Thought he meant a few metres"

30-09-2020 13:16
F1 News
Mercedes explains miscommunication: Thought he meant a few metres

Lewis Hamilton was punished twice during the Russian Grand Prix for making a test start in the wrong place. Afterwards there was a lot of discussion as to whether a punishment was justified. Mercedes engineer Andrew Shovlin explains exactly what went wrong.

"During the reconnaissance laps the drivers can practice their starts. On this event it said you could do them after the pit exit on the right hand side. Lewis had said if he could go a little bit further. This is about trying to get the car of the rubber where everyone’s been practicing starts all weekend. That’s often grippier than the grid itself, so it’s not the perfect location to do it", says Shovlin in the Mercedes debrief.

Miscommunication between Hamilton and the team

“From an engineering point of view we often ask the drivers to move a bit further down. When Lewis asked if he could go further down, we said that was fine. We hadn’t realised he’d go quite as far as he did. That was really where the misunderstanding was. We thought he meant a few meters. We should’ve given him an different answer to that question.”

The FIA has designated a location at the end of the pit lane where drivers can make their test start. So there is some room to move within that location, but you can't drive all the way to the end of the pit exit on the track to do your test start. The differences in speed are much greater there and for safety reasons the FIA does not allow this.

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