Mercedes to adapt headrest to avoid Baku repeat
Mercedes will adapt its Formula 1 headrest in time for the Austrian Grand Prix to avoid a repeat of the problem that cost Lewis Hamilton victory in Azerbaijan last weekend.
Hamilton was on course to win in Baku before a loose headrest forced him in to the pits for a replacement, which consigned him to finishing fifth, one place behind title rival Sebastian Vettel.
Victory would have launched Hamilton to the top of the championship but instead the British driver now trails Vettel by 14 points in the title race.
Mercedes has spent time at its Brackley factory this week looking into exactly what went wrong and has concluded that the length of the locking pins at the back of the headrest, where it attaches to the car, most likely played a part.
The team has decided to change the design of the pins as an extra fail-safe to help ensure that the headrest is fully locked in place whenever it is fitted to the car.
Motorsport boss Toto Wolff said immediately after the race it was the first time such a problem had occurred, but suspected the fact that his team’s pins are shorter than some of its rivals’ most likely played a part.
“I haven’t heard of that problem [before],” he said.
“The knobs that go into the hole are not very large.”
Mercedes was keen to ensure that the headrest incident did not result in individuals being blamed for what happened.
“I will not blame anybody – and I won’t let you start to try and blame somebody,” Wolff told Sky Sports.
“This team has won three world championships and I will not point the finger at a single person.”