Technical Director James Allison answers your Austrian GP questions...
Ali (a_waked4) asked us on Instagram:
- Why did you choose not to take Lewis to the pits at the time of the Virtual Safety Car?
James Allison: "I'll start off my saying, because it was a mistake, we made an error and should've stopped him. But, I'll explain a little bit of our thinking and put a bit of the strategist's dilemma to you.
"Strategy is one of those really odd things where it's incredible obvious in hindsight what you should've done, even my mum could do the right thing if she had the benefit of all the hindsight that we have after the decision is taken.
"But, at the time the strategist faces more of a dilemma and the person who is in the lead of the race always has the biggest dilemma of all because they have the most to lose. You don't want to be the only one stopping and then find that all the other guys behind you don't stop, and then you are tangled up in them in a way you hope not to be.
"We thought the VSC would last for more than one lap, so we thought we'd see what happened to the guys behind us, see whether they stop or didn't stop and then make a decision on the second lap.
"It didn't last for more than one lap, it all happened in just one, everybody behind us stopped, we lost out hugely because they had a cheap stop, we had an expensive stop. It was a big mistake and one that we would've paid a significant price for had we not subsequently had a DNF later in the race."
James Edwards (@James_Ed_F1) tweeted us asking:
- We don't usually hear James Vowles on the team radio, why was this the case in Austria?
JA: "Well, you do sometimes hear James and it's normally under unusual circumstances, where we have a message that is either subtle or difficult, where we need to get a message to the driver without the intermedia of the race engineer.
"The normal communication path is that the strategist will tell the race engineer a message that is to be passed onto the driver and the race engineer will do that. Sometimes you want to avoid the Chinese whisper of that, or the message is very, very important or in this particular instant it is very personal.
"In this particular instance it was James showing an extremely broad pair of shoulders, standing up and saying 'that was my mistake, Lewis, and I am sorry for it'. It was, I think, very characteristic of James but also a measure of how this team operates. Where people will hold up their hand when they have made a mistake, knowing that the team's attitude to mistakes is that they are things we learn from rather than things we throw blame around for, or cause great polemics within the team.
"So, it was a very good example of strong leadership by James, trying to explain to Lewis what had happened and the importance of that message meant James wanted to give it personally, rather than passing it through the intermediary of a race engineer."
Matthew Horton (@mattjhorton) sent us this question on Twitter:
- Was it the same failure on both cars and is it a result of the engine upgrades?
JA: "Well, I can tell you they weren't the same failure, they were entirely different. On Valtteri's car, it was a hydraulics failure starting in the power steering system but being felt ultimately in the inability to shift the gears, which caused his car to stop.
"In Lewis' case, it was a failure of the fuel pump, meaning we couldn't deliver fuel to the engine. Entirely separate failures and neither of them related to the introduction of the new Power Unit."
Peter Gutzkow asked on Facebook:
- Are you guys expecting any penalties in Silverstone?
JA: "The answer to your question is we hope not. We hope not, because we think both of the failures that we had were confined to the items that failed and are both things that can be replaced without having to break into the sealed areas of the car that attract sporting penalties.
"However, I say we hope not because every time the car stops in an uncontrolled way, where a failure happens and the system is then shut down in a manner that is unusual and where the car can suffer all manner of unknown gremlins, you can't be completely sure until we have done all the necessary checks, to be certain the bits of the car that are sealed and do attract sporting penalties weren't in any way effected by these uncontrolled shutdowns.
"We have got a bit of work on our plates at the moment to try and make sure we aren't taking any undue risks with parts that were not to do with the failure but might've had some consequential damage as the car shut down. But, we don't think so, we think we will be in good shape for Silverstone."
Sophie (@sophsomething) tweeted us with this query:
- Why was there so much blistering on the rear left tyres?
JA: "Well, lots of teams suffered blistering on race day in Austria. It was quite a warm day and it is also a track that has some very demanding corners. Very, very fast series of flowing corners around the last part of the lap, that puts a very high thermal burden on those tyres.
"Why did some cars suffer the blistering and others didn't? Well, it really depends on how hard you want to lean on your car. If you look at the qualifying pace around about for our car 1m3s, and then look at the racing pace, somewhere around about 1m9s at the start of the race.
"The difference between those two figures is way, way more than the additional fuel that gets added between qualifying and racing. And the difference between those figures is largely explained by the drivers looking after their tyres.
"Making sure they are not asking too much of them. Because, on any given lap the car could go way faster than they are driving in the race, way faster. But they will then pay a penalty for that because the tyre will then get too hot, once it gets too hot a blister will occur and then that tyre is damaged in a way that will hurt the rest of your race.
"So, the drivers have to drive below the limit of what the car can give and what the tyres can give on any given lap, in order to make them last a stint. In our particular car, having lost out as a result of bad decisions we made around the Virtual Safety Car, we were trying to recover our race from that point of view.
"A first stint where we saw absolutely no difficulties with the tyre because we were able to run it in a controlled and relaxed way quicker than all the others then became a real catch-up job, where we are trying to lean on the car to get places back.
"Leaning on the car in that fashion pushes the tyres over that cliff edge where the blistering happens. So, it is really just a question of how much you ask of the tyres that determines whether or not the blistering happens, on a track like this where the weather is hot and there is this series of very demanding curves, that put a lot of thermal energy into the tyres."