Mercedes admit gearbox issues a 'feature of the model' as they seek fixes

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Mercedes have admitted the gearbox issues that threatened their Austrian Grand Prix do stem from a flaw with its current design.

Both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton had to manage their driving for much of last Sunday's race in Spielberg, with sensor problems threatening to shut the car down.

And while they were ultimately successful in reaching the chequered flag, with Bottas winning and Hamilton fourth following a five-second penalty, it was clear Mercedes would have been vulnerable to Red Bull had they too not had reliability issues.

So that means the race is now against the clock to try and find solutions and put them in place for this weekend's second race in Styria.

"We have a great group around Simon Cole on trackside reliability, and he and his team are going to [work to] solve that problem until next week," team boss Wolff said.

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"What I understand is that there are solutions that we can at least improve the situation. Austria is for sure stressing these parts on the car most in all of the season.

"So if we find a way around of protecting the car next weekend, we should be fine. I think we have ideas."

Mercedes chief engineer Andrew Shovlin explained the issue was due to "a build-up of electrical noise that starts to interfere with the various systems" in the W11.

And though it is more exaggerated in Austria because of the high altitude, temperatures and harsh kerbs, he admits it is also just a simple design flaw.

“On Friday we saw that Valtteri had an issue at the end of one of the sessions so that was the first sign that we had a problem,” he revealed on the F1 Nation podcast.

“We’ve had a recurring issue over the course of Saturday and going into the race we were expecting it because it seems to be a feature of the model.

“So, at the moment if we build the car and run it this problem will appear at some point – it’s just a question of how soon.”