Mercedes former technical director Paddy Lowe says that at the beginning of the turbo-hybrid era in 2014, they worked hard to hide their true speed, all for fear that the FIA would introduce a new technical regulation if it sees what their advantage actually is over all other competitors.
"Towards the end of the pre-season testing in 2014, we saw what our advantage was. Andy Cowell was initially concerned about the performance and reliability of the new PU105B. ” "It was a difficult period and they didn't have a lot of self-confidence.
But when we came to the second test - it became much clearer that others were in big trouble, not to mention anyone in particular and that we were in reasonably good condition. ” "When we came up with the new upgrades to test in Bahrain - it was a new 7 or 8 tenths of a second in horsepower alone.
It was a very important day. That's when we realized we were in a very special territory. " Despite a huge advantage, Mercedes won the pole position in the first race of the season in just 3 tenths of a second. Lowe says the main men of the team, including Wolff, were very worried about what would happen if the true scale of their dominance was seen.
“It was exciting, but you have stress because of other things. Imagine the scene: Totto and the Daimler board worry about negative publicity if we are too good [on the track]. ”
The team would discuss how much strength they would release to win the pole position.
Wolff often felt that they did not need full strength. “The debate would be about how much strength we will release for Q3. I heard from Totto, ‘That’s too much, that’s too much!’. However, I was afraid we would look ridiculous if we didn’t win the pole.
” "It took a long time. Throughout almost 2014, the engine was never at full power during qualifying. ” Recall, Mercedes failed to win the pole position only once that year and that was in Austria where the first starting line went to Williams.
That Saturday, both Hamilton and Rosberg made mistakes that cost them better time in Q3. “Not only engine was great, but the car was also good. We had amazing aerodynamics, better than everyone else. We followed this because we were able to annul the speed from the engine.
That car was better than all the others, except for the powertrain. ” Mercedes won 18 of 19 pole positions in 2015, and they missed it only in Singapore, which went to Sebastian Vettel in Ferrari. A year later Mercedes won 20 pole positions from a 21 GP weekend.