Mercedes ‘overstepped mark’ with gearboxes

Mercedes technical director James Allison believes the team have had to pay the price for "overstepping the mark" with their gearboxes.

Lewis Hamilton suffered a five-place grid drop at the Austrian Grand Prix before coming home in fourth place.

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas suffered the same fate at Silverstone, but he was able to rescue a Merc one-two finish with a little help from Ferrari and their punctured tyres.

And Allison has revealed that the change to a new gearbox was needed after pushing the old units too hard in their pursuit to stay ahead of the Scuderia.

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'"We try to put it on the track as much as we can, but the opportunities for track running in a risk-free way are limited,' Allison said.

"So we have dynamometers back in the factory where we can create a fairly good representation of reality.

"So we just overstepped the mark by the tiniest of margins and paid a price.'

Allison then said by "letting rip" too much, the old gearboxes had reached the end of their life cycle.

"In the old days, you'd be in a gear, then you'd be out of a gear and then you'd be in another gear and you'd just lose drive all the time that the gears were in transit from one to the other," he explained.

"In a seamless shift you are in one gear and then the next one takes over instantly – so there isn't a loss of drive.

"But seamless though it is, there is still an amount of spinning stuff that needs to be slowed down to meet the next gear.

"The harsh [way to do that] is just letting rip. I can say this because it's not a sort of thing that no-one else has thought of, it's a standard thing in F1. It's just a question of how bold you are with it."

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