Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has confirmed that the W12 has been fitted with some new parts for the British Grand Prix.
There were conflicting messages throughout the Mercedes camp back in Austria regarding the team’s development plan for the W12, but ultimately it was established that an upgrade was expected for the British Grand Prix.
And Wolff has now confirmed that, explaining the need to give both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas the strongest car possible as the title battle enters a crucial race.
Max Verstappen has now won three in a row for Red Bull, while the Austrian outfit are on a five-race winning streak, but at a Silverstone track where Mercedes are expected to be strong, there is a feeling of now or never for them to reverse the momentum.
“Silverstone is an incredible track, fast and flowing, and one that we hope should suit our car better compared to Spielberg,” said Wolff in Mercedes’ Silverstone preview.
“We also have a few small updates on the car, and we look forward to seeing how they perform.
“We know we need to give Lewis and Valtteri the car to perform at Silverstone and everyone at Brackley and Brixworth is working flat out to deliver it.”
The British Grand Prix will also host the first staging of sprint qualifying, a 100km, 30-minute sprint race on Saturday to determine the grid for the British GP.
Traditional qualifying will still take place on the Friday under this new schedule, setting the starting positions for sprint qualifying, but Wolff talked of a need to get up to speed very quickly with only an hour of practice before qualifying.
“The first weekend with the new sprint qualifying format brings a fresh challenge for all teams,” said Wolff.
“With just a single one-hour practice session ahead of the Friday qualifying session, and the cars’ configuration fixed from the beginning of standard qualifying on Friday, whoever can get up to speed quickest will carry an advantage through the weekend.
“We will be adapting our approach and running plans to ensure we are best prepared for every aspect of the new challenge.”
A capacity crowd of 140,000 fans is expected for the British Grand Prix, promising the kind of atmosphere which Formula 1 has deerly missed throughout the pandemic.
And for the first time those fans will get to cheer Britain’s own Lewis Hamilton down the Hamilton Straight, following the renaming of the pits straight at Silverstone in the seven-time World Champion’s honour.
“This year we’ll be racing on the Hamilton Straight for the first time, which will be a special moment for Lewis and the whole team,” Wolff explained.
“I can’t think of another example of an active driver being honoured in this way by a circuit – it’s testament to what Lewis has achieved in this sport so far in his career.”