Does Mercedes lack ‘Racing Intelligence’?

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Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

I was watching a video of Rachel Brookes speaking with former Motor Racing Correspondent for The Times, Kevin Eason and F1 journalist and author David Tremayne this evening and there was a point the two made about Mercedes that I thought was curious.

We’re all afforded our opinions and insight and certainly Kevin and David have spent the better part of their lives covering the sport but I am not quite sure, I am in 100% agreement with their assessment that Mercedes lacks Racing Intelligence.

Go what the video here, it is at about the 4-minute mark, and then let me know what you think.

The discussion was centered around the moments when Mercedes seemingly haven’t made the right strategy call and Baku being the most recent with Lewis Hamilton. They focus on the strategy the team do through computational predictions and real-time race analysis and while one could certainly agree with them on a few occasion, I’m not sure I am prepared to say that the team doesn’t have the race moxie of red Bull or Ferrari.

In fact, I would say that Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel have had their share of moments last year and even into this year when one could challenge a few of their calls. For me, this season is more challenging with the softer tire compounds and the team are trying, quickly, to get on top of this random, unknown element in order to get their race strategy nailed down. Also, the appearance of Safety Cars in the first few races have added a winner/loser element that is impossible to predict.

As a team, Mercedes have enjoyed running strategy from the front and with their teammates the only real competition, perhaps one could endorse Kevin’s comments for sure but the team didn’t always have it easy. They had to fight and scrap their way up from the Brawn GP buyout to the title winning days of Hamilton and Rosberg.

I don’t completely disagree with them but I tend to think this year’s car has been a bit of a challenge for Lewis as well as Valtteri, the tires are new, softer and more of a moving target and the Safety Car hasn’t made life easy for Mercedes or Ferrari. Let’s see how the European portion of the season goes and then maybe I’ll change my mind. What do you think? Oh, and try to keep your bias out of the opinion, think it through logically.

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Rapierman

In the past few years that I’ve seen Mercedes (albeit from the front of the grid), I haven’t see anything that would suggest that they’ve had no “racing intelligence” This year, they’re fighting from behind, but I still didn’t see anything that would suggest any lack thereof. I might accuse Ferrari of the occasional “Brain Fart”, though, but not completely imbecilic, either. Tactically, it was a good call in one instance to get Vettel in and get him new tires in time to get him back out front. I probably would have made the same call. Other times, I have… Read more »

subcritical71

I would say Ferrari and the Mercedes are having a tougher time at is this year because Renault and McLaren are picking up a lot more of the scraps than they were last year (they have effectively taken all the points that Ferrari, Mercedes, Force India and Williams combined have lost out on this year as compared to last year!). That has in effect put the strategy calls of the two top teams, which were optimized when they were running away from everyone, under a microscope as they so far have collected fewer total points this year. Check out the… Read more »

mini696

Ferrari strategy = Quick panic.
Mercedes strategy = Don’t change a thing, it’s worked before.

danktrees

mercedes are usually in a different position than their competitors. ferrari and red bull are usually able to take greater risks simply because the conventional methods will result in them losing to mercedes. this is why you often see red bull pitting while ferrari and mercedes stay out since they are not in danger of losing their positions to those behind and can take the risk to change tires. while mercedes may have made some wrong decisions so far this year, some of it had to do with circumstances that were out of their control. many articles and pundits have… Read more »

McSerb

I dont think they made a wrong strategy call for Hamilton in Baku. It just worked out that way because Lewis insisted on challenging the much quicker Ferrari, drove over the limit to keep up, made some mistakes and destroyed his tires. Bottas was driving a race of his own, far behind Vettel and Hamilton, determined to take what was on offer (third place). He did not push like Hamilton while Vettel was covering Hamilton strategy-wise (he never took Bottas as a threat) so the whole thing simply played into Bottas hands and enabled him to use another strategy. Vettel… Read more »