Toto Wolff says Mercedes has left no stone unturned in its quest to improve how Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg handle their clutches at the start of Formula One races, revealing that it has gone as far as changing the way their gloves are made.
Hamilton had another poor launch at last Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix, having already experienced similar mishaps in Italy, Canada, Bahrain, and Australia.
While the Briton was quick to take the blame for the sluggish getaway, Wolff admits the single clutch procedure, introduced in order to add more uncertainty at lights out, is difficult to master on the W07.
“The clutch, obviously, is not perfect,” he said. “We are giving it to them and it is difficult to handle. We have tried to optimise that but our first assessment was that it didn't function well on the clutch release - dumping the clutch - but that is obviously an oversimplification. It is a complex system to deploy and that didn't function [on Sunday].”
Although this has not hurt him as much as Hamilton, championship leader Rosberg also suffered setbacks off the line in a couple of races this year.
“I have never driven the clutch, so I can only tell you what we analyse,” Wolff further commented. “It is difficult to handle the clutch in the right way and both drivers have worked on that, going as far as changing the way the glove has been done to release it.
“This is just one aspect on how it goes, how you release it and how you build the revs, and that is very complicated, then there is the random factor of getting all of that right and that is not always very easy with the clutch.”