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- Updated: August 7, 2017
A problem with Mercedes’ fibre optic cable was the reason behind the pit wall issues that hampered the team from communicating with drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton for a sizeable part of the race.
The pair had to run a number of laps were run without any data being transmitted as the German team sought to repair the issue.
Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, Toto Wolff, felt the issue played a significant role in the team’s troubles, with Bottas and Hamilton finishing third and fourth behind the two Scuderia Ferrari drivers.
“It was a local hardware issue,” admitted Wolff. “We found a crack in a fibre optic cable, that made us fly blind.
“Our whole comms and data systems broke down. We didn’t have any communications on the ‘Fantasy Island’ – that is the middle thing we have – and on the pit wall.
“So no radio comms, no data, no TV feed. We somehow managed to get it back occasionally – and that obviously penalised us strongly. So there were conversations at times that Lewis heard and then there were conversations he didn’t hear. A difficult one.”
The failure saw many team members from the team’s bases in Brackley and Brixworth eventually coming to their help as they tried their best to assist those at trackside. Hungary-based Mercedes strategist James Vowles received a lot of feedback from the engineers back in the United Kingdom.
“It was an incredible team play,” said Wolff. “We had lots of people in Brackley and in Brixworth who were our redundancy systems, feeding us massive amounts of information over to us on the radio.
“At times there were six or seven different people speaking to James and we were trying to make the right decisions. That was a really great team effort.”