The two GP’s that took place on the Silverstone track those past weeks have exposed the problems with the tyres in both Mercedes cars. During the British GP Bottas ultimately finished 11th instead of 2nd, after a front-left tyre failure 4 laps before the end of the race. Lewis Hamilton suffered a tyre failure as well, but was able to cross the finish line basically on three wheels. During the 70th Anniversary GP Mercedes had problems again, which led to Max Verstappen winning the race. The high temperatures during those weekends are definitely worrying in terms of the upcoming Spanish GP, and the team now has just a few days to resolve the issue to avoid looking “silly” as said by Andrew Shovlin, the chief race engineer of Mercedes F1.
As Shovlin said in an interview: "What was news to us this afternoon was we're kind of at the very, very worst end of that [blistering] problem. Red Bull appears to be at the very best end of that spectrum and that's the thing that we need to understand. There's been other races where everyone's been in the same boat, but why are we an outlier? Right now, we haven't got the answer.“
He added: "There's an element of urgency here because we're in Barcelona, we're flying out there on Tuesday, running on Friday, it's forecast to be 30C, the track will be a bit like this. It's a high energy circuit. We're kind of well aware that if we didn't get on top of it, we've got another Sunday of looking silly.”
Shovlin admitted that in case the problem won’t be solvable right away, the team can probably “hide” on the hardest available C1 compound of the Pirelli tyres which will be available to the teams during the Spanish GP, to avoid such high blistering. During the 70th Anniversary GP the hardest available compound was C2, which has been the medium compound for the British GP. He added that finding a fix to the issue of blistering might not be so “straightforward” as it was not an issue last year.
As Shovlin said: "If we don't solve it, you can probably hide from it a little bit on that C1 tyre. But we've still got to run the tyre that today was causing us grief, and that wasn't solving the problem for us. We've seen Red Bull, they're not that far off us in races, even when we're looking at our best.”
He added: "To be honest, if we don't make progress, we'll be in trouble [in Spain] as well, so that's kind of where this urgency to get a bit of a grip on it comes from."