Lewis Hamilton’s lost victory at the 2018 season-opening Australian Grand Prix came down to a software glitch on the Mercedes pit-wall during the Virtual Safety Car, according to team boss Toto Wolff.
Sebastian Vettel, who hadn’t pitted, took advantage of the VSC by pitting as Haas encountered their problems, which got him net track position over Formula 1 rival Lewis Hamilton, which allowed the German to cruise to his first win of the season.
Wolff believes the programming and algorithm of the VSC software was incorrect, which meant the required gap which was assumed on the Mercedes pit-wall to Vettel was inaccurate.
“It’s very hard to take because we had the pace. For whatever reason, we need to find out, we lost the win.
“We thought we had about three seconds margin. I don’t know what happened to them, we need to ask the computers and that’s what we are doing at the moment. Whether we had a software problem somewhere, we need to fix it.
“I think the problem is within our systems. I think we have a bug somewhere that said 15 seconds is what you need, we had 12, it should have been enough but it wasn’t.” said Wolff after the Australian Grand Prix, speaking to Sky Sports F1.
“He was attacking flat out but you can see the overtaking is pretty bad here. Even the mega overtakers couldn’t make a pass. Lewis had to give up because the tyres wouldn’t have made it to the end.
“I think we have a software issue with the VSC data, a situation that we haven’t had yet with a special constellation of cars on track, one going in high speeds and one in slow speeds. The gap that we needed was wrongly calculated by the systems.
“I think the way the algorithm is set up, the way the computer is being programmed, we always had the green light and the gap was enough for us to stay ahead. And then we saw the TV pictures and it wasn’t enough.”