Mercedes white hot for German GP?
White rather than silver for world champions' commemorative race? Mercedes wary of Hockenheim heat, while Ferrari set race-day goal
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 24/07/19 9:35am
Mercedes have teased a commemorative white car livery for their home German GP - ahead of a race they are remaining "vigilant" about with sweltering temperatures forecast for this weekend.
The world championship leaders are celebrating two milestones at Hockenheim - their 200th race start as a constructor and the 125th anniversary of motorsport.
And it appears F1's famous 'Silver Arrows' will at least be tweaking that traditional colour scheme in a nod to their original racing origins from the early 20th century. It was not until the 1930s that Mercedes raced in silver.
The British-based, but German-owned, outfit head into their second successive 'home' event in commanding positions in both world championship races as F1 2019 prepares to hit its midpoint.
Mercedes have won nine of this season's 10 grands prix, their joint-best start to a season, while they have also triumphed on F1's last three visits to Hockenheim.
However, their one race-day defeat this year came in sweltering conditions in Austria - and temperatures in excess of 35 degrees forecast are for central Germany this week, putting Mercedes on alert.
"The weather forecast predicts high temperatures, which were extremely challenging for us in Austria, so we must stay vigilant," said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
"Like Spielberg, Hockenheim is also a relatively short circuit, which will close the gaps between different teams. We will stay humble and work hard to achieve the best possible result.
High altitude also contributed to Mercedes' woes in Austria. However, whereas the Red Bull Ring is 677 metres above sea level, Hockenheim is a little over 100m.
What about Ferrari?
Although Lewis Hamilton ultimately claimed a brilliant yet unlikely victory for Mercedes from 14th on the grid, last year's German GP had appeared to be heading Ferrari's way - until Sebastian Vettel's mistake from the lead changed the complexion of the dry-wet race. The German beached his car in the gravel when leading by nine seconds.
Vettel said ahead of this weekend: "We have got to make up for last year, especially myself and I look forward to racing in Hockenheim."
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto confirmed they are "not bringing any specific updates" for this weekend, but said data from the last race at Silverstone has "provided us with useful information in our quest to get a better understanding of our car".
Charles Leclerc, who finished third last time out and is on a grid-best run of four successive podiums, says Ferrari now must improve their long-run pace.
"Over the past few weekends, we have made some progress in qualifying," said the 21-year-old. "Now we have to focus on the race pace because that's where we seem to be struggling the most at the moment."
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