Mercedes’ ‘party mode’ has been the subject of a lot of ‘talk’ around the F1 circuit after the Australian GP qualifying, wherein Hamilton apparently switched on the party mode in Q3 to dish out a lap time of 1:21.164.
While Hamilton denied having used the ‘party mode’, Toto Wolff had loosely used the term in his post qualifying press conference, sending a quite warning to other teams about the technical prowess that was at the disposal of Mercedes.
Red Bull however have been put off by the party mode, and want FIA to bring in some rule change in order to provide all teams with a level playing field.
Red Bull’s Helmut Marko was particularly very agitated by what Mercedes did, suggesting that Mercedes were kind of forced to reveal their party mode, as Bottas had suffered a crash during qualifying.
“They got nervous because [Valtteri] Bottas crashed, and all of a sudden they put full power on,” Helmut Marko said in an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com
“As we call it, party mode.
“They normally don’t need it, so they used all of it, and it’s obvious that they are playing with all of us.
“In the beginning it was just as who were complaining, and it was, ‘Red Bull is always complaining.’ Fortunately after qualifying the others woke up, and now there’s a lot of discussions.
“There are so many relatively easy things to solve it, and make it more equal. You could say that you should race with the mode that you do qualifying with. That would be a solution.
“They could do it for the next race, and then it won’t happen for the next race.” he added.
Red Bull have even devised a way to prevent teams from going all out during qualifying, suggesting ‘fixing’ of modes from qualifying to raceday, as even other teams want to go ‘party’ a little.
“You could say that you run the same engine modes for the weekend,” Horner said.
“It was a hell of a party – we would like to go to those kinds of parties!
“You can see it. Q1, Q2 last year, they don’t take any risks, and then they wind it up in Q3. Obviously the margin from Q2 to Q3 was significant – the track didn’t rubber in that much.
“Admittedly Max [Verstappen] made a little mistake, we should have potentially been within half a second, probably about what the delta is in modes.
“It is something that should be considered, that you effectively have a parc ferme, the moment you drive out for qualifying, that is your engine mode for quali and the race. It’s up to the FIA, it’s down to them to work out what they want to do.: Horner concluded.
The FIA though is no mood to intervene as it understands that all engines have multiple modes, ones that they would want to switch on during crunch situations.
“Whatever party mode is, I’ve not seen it written in any technical documents!
“Put it like this. If Mercedes customers come to us and say, ‘We’ve asked for party mode and we’re not getting it,’ then we might have something to say about it.
“There are all sorts of modes on these engines, and we know full well that they change at various times during the race.” Charlie Whiting said.