Mercedes to revise 'brake magic' process after Baku gaffe


Mercedes says it will "put in place" for the next race a different "brake magic" process to prevent the system's inadvertent activation as was the case in Baku with Lewis Hamilton.

The brake magic button located on the back side of the Mercedes W12's steering wheel changes the car's brake balance, with a preponderant percentage of braking switching to the front.

It is a tool used by drivers to put heat into the brakes during a warm-up or preparation lap, as Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott explained in the Brackley squad's Azerbaijan Grand Prix debrief on YouTube.

"One of the buttons we've got, called 'brake magic', is a button the drivers can press and that allows them to get heat into the brakes," Elliott explained.

"One of the big things it does is that it moves the brake balance – the proportion of the front brake energy to the rear brake energy – all the way as far forward as we can get it.

"And that allows us to put heat into the front brakes and therefore heat into the rims and tyres."


Hamilton followed the usual preparation process during the formation lap without any issues. But after the start, a crucial moment of imprecision in the heat of the moment sealed his fate.

"So, Lewis had done all of the right things, he got the car to the grid, he switched off the various buttons and settings he needed to switch off, switched on the ones he needed to switch on, and he was all set to start the race properly," added Elliott.

"He made a fantastic start, he got himself up alongside Perez and as he and Perez were sort of shuffling position Lewis swerved and in the process of swerving, he just clipped the magic button.

"And unfortunately, he didn’t feel he had done it, so he had completely no awareness he was going to have a problem.

"At the point he then braked, which was the normal point for him to brake, he was in a position where he had all the brake balance shifted forward, he had put all of the load to the front tyre, and as a consequence they locked, and from that point there was nothing he could do but go wide."

Hamilton kicked himself for his mistake that cost him big points in his close fight in the championship with arch-rival Max Verstappen. But Mercedes also owned up to its fair share of responsibility in the blunder.

"I know speaking to Lewis yesterday, that Lewis feels a chunk of blame for that," Elliott said. "But the reality is Lewis makes so few mistakes and that’s what really sets him apart from some of the other drivers.

"It’s our duty to try and give him a car where it’s more difficult for him to make mistakes.

"We need to take our share of that, look at how we can improve that and that’s something we will put in place for the next race."

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