Mercedes won last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring with Valtteri Bottas, but electrical noise stemming from heavy vibration caused since the W11s discovered the kerbs at the Austrian track threatened to cause gearbox sensor failures on the race winner’s car and Hamilton’s machine.
Mercedes admitted from then on event that the problem could be expected to reoccur if its cars were run in the same arrangement as last weekend, but new looms were fitted as part of an endeavor to address the matter ahead of the follow-up Styrian race.
When asked if the Mercedes drivers can use the kerbs in Sunday’s race, after Hamilton had taken pole ahead of Verstappen, McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and Bottas, Wolff said: “There will be laps when you have no chance of maybe not using them.
“Wherever Max is – leading or behind us – just cruising around, neatly steering clear of the kerbs will not be possible [for Mercedes].
“It is all about constant massacring the suspension – that’s something that will cause us [a] headache.
“So once we are settled within our position then we will be attempting to avoid the kerbs. It’s a really Austria-specific topic.”
Mercedes W11 car is fitted with the innovative – and controversial – DAS system with Red Bull also making a change at the front of its RB16 car as a result of its new multi-link suspension approach.
After Mercedes’ struggles with the kerbs and spins for Red Bull’s drivers in cold temperatures testing and during the two race weekends in Austria, Wolff put these issues down to the teams “learning by doing” thanks to the compact nature of the newest 2020 calendar.
“You must keep in mind normally, once you begin the season, these developments are understood with mileage,” he said.
“We tested the cars in Barcelona and we had a four-month break without touching them, fundamentally.
“And then we brought upgrades onto the vehicle, which have never been tested before in virtually any free practice sessions.
“But we needed to carry it into the car in order to maintain our competitiveness. So, I believe it’s a little learning by doing that’s happening for several teams.
“And obviously the ones that understand their car and the systems quicker will have an advantage. It’s another race in the race that happens and it’s very exciting.”