Mercedes technical director James Allison has revealed that he sent a frustrated email to the team’s factory employees in the aftermath of the Brazilian Grand Prix. The Silver Arrows endured one of their worst weekends in recent memory in Sao Paulo, with Lewis Hamilton finishing eighth and George Russell retiring as his power unit neared the point of failure.
Mercedes arrived at Interlagos with high hopes of challenging Max Verstappen after claiming a one-two finish at the same circuit last year. However, they were no match for their rivals over the course of the 71-lap contest and were ultimately forced to settle for a measly haul of just four points.
Allison later revealed that he sent a post-race email to the team’s engineers, in which he expressed his disappointment at being ‘knocked for six’ by how unexpectedly slow Mercedes were.
“I just wrote an email back to the factory saying I feel knocked for six by it because we came here, it would have been too much to imagine a repeat of last year because the stars would have to align for that, but I thought we’d be troubling the podium,” said Allison on the F1 Nation podcast.
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“Now you could say ‘you’ve been undone by your own hubris’ but never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that we would have the torrid weekend we just had.
“In some ways, there’s a comfort in that because we must have just got something wrong and we’ll go off and uncover what that was. And with a bit of luck, under the lovely thing that racing gives you, a couple of weeks’ time we’ll come back and hopefully put it to bed.”
Mercedes were unable to manage their tyres properly in Brazil, with high track temperatures and understeer exacerbating the problem throughout the race. Both of their drivers were left bitterly disappointed with the way it panned out, prompting Hamilton to admit that he is looking forward to ditching the W14 next year.
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“The car is really unpredictable in a sense of one weekend it feels good, one session it feels good, and then not,” he said. “I’m sure we will go and look at things and find things we should have done differently but with the one [practice] session it’s difficult, but I’m still proud of the team.
“They still came here and did their work, they hold their heads up high and that’s what we have to continue to do. Just keep pushing forward. Two more races with this thing. Hopefully no more driving it.”
Russell, meanwhile, was at a loss to explain Mercedes’ poor performance after he was forced to retire with a worsening power unit issue. He said: “Clearly we got something wrong this weekend, still not too sure what that is as yet, but the pace just hasn’t been there. We thought yesterday may have been a one-off but clearly it wasn’t.
“We need to regroup and try to understand it because twelve months ago, this was our strongest race of the year. Twelve months later, by far our weakest race of the year. Very strange.”
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