Formula 1 - Weather a threat to Mercedes hopes

British Grand Prix talk is often dominated by the weather, but Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will give the skies more attention than normal ahead of the race because track temperature appears key to their chances of victory.

Formula 1 - Weather a threat to Mercedes hopes

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2013 GP of Great Britain Mercedes Lowe

With their Mercedes team openly admitting that it is not yet convinced it is on top of its race day tyre issues, efforts in recent weeks have been focused on moving the car development and set-up in a direction that is better for the rubber.

But any extra outside assistance is welcome, which is why the fact that the best weather of the weekend is arriving in time for the race is not ideal.

For although the cool temperatures on Friday left every team struggling to find grip - because tyres do not get into their optimum operating window and can suffer from graining – the warmer it gets the worse it can be for Mercedes.

As the temperatures rise, the front tyres start gripping better – which puts more onus on a car to look after its rear tyres. This has been Mercedes' Achilles' heel so far this year.

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn admitted that rising temperatures were changing the demands of the car – which is why he is cautious about the chances for the race.

"We saw from Friday into Saturday, and even in to qualifying, that the load is now moving back onto the rears," said Brawn, when asked by AUTOSPORT about the impact of the warmer weather.

"Initially it was the left front that was the tyre that was suffering, so we have to watch in the race that it doesn't go too far.

"Once you get into difficulties on the rears, then that becomes a less manageable situation. If it is on the front, then there are things you can do that mean you don't lose as much time."

"We are mindful of it and doing what we can, and that will be the challenge of Sunday."

F1 teams have become used, in recent races, to encountering rising temperatures between Saturday and Sunday, but the high-speed nature of Silverstone is likely to make it more of a challenge for the teams.

"We are trying to anticipate it," Brawn said. "I think we have more tools at our disposal in terms of the car itself.

"We have made some modifications to try and reduce that sensitivity, so we will find out more in the race.

"We would prefer it if the conditions stayed the same all weekend – in our car at least – so I honestly don't know how we will fare.

"I don't think it will be anything like as difficult as we had in Barcelona, which I think was an extreme situation. And we must remember it was only a few races ago in Malaysia where we were able to race hard from beginning to end.

"We are just on this edge, the edge of a cliff, and if we don't fall over it we are okay. So we have to do things to move the car away from the edge of the cliff."

One of the characteristics of the 2013 tyres that teams have found is that once the rubber gets too hot then it is very difficult to bring it back into the right operating window – even by backing off.

Nico Rosberg is convinced that things will not be as bad as they were at the Spanish Grand Prix – where the team went from pole position to being lapped – but he knows it is not in the clear yet.

"It is not difficult to do less than the Spanish Grand Prix," said the German. "I can say for quite certain that we are looking better than back then.

"We have made changes and bought changes to the car all along, all the time, trying to understand it better, but it is very, very complex.

"We are getting there, but there are still other teams that are doing better jobs on Sundays – inevitably the Red Bulls that are just behind us.

"But we had decent runs on Friday with the high fuel so it should be possible to do a good result. But how good we don't know."

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