The reliability of the Mercedes F1 engine relates to a legacy from the 2019 Ferrari race

Author: | Posted in Sports No comments

The German producer has faced persistent concerns about his power unit this season, with both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas having been hit by a series of net penalties since the summer break.

Hamilton, who is under investigation for a DRS violation in qualifying, has taken a new combustion engine to this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix and is serving a five-place grid penalty on Sunday.

The Mercedes situation is a surprise given how little trouble it has faced with reliability throughout the turbohybrid era, with Honda F1 technical chief Toyoharu Tanabe remarking that he “can not believe” why its rival has fought so hard very.

However, team manager Toto Wolff believes that the current difficulties are a consequence of Mercedes’ exaggeration in chasing performance during the campaign in 2019 – where Ferrari had a power advantage.

That season proved controversial when Ferrari’s power unit was the subject of an FIA investigation into potential behavior that bypassed F1’s strict fuel flow limits.

While the FIA ​​was unable to prove that Ferrari broke the rules, the subsequent introduction of an additional fuel flow sensor served to pull back the Italian team’s performance.

At the time, Mercedes was upset because it felt its staff had been pushed to their limits to match the Ferrari performance, which it believed was the result of the Italian team pushing the boundaries of the rules.

Now Wolff is proposing that the measures it took back then to play catch up for 2020 are now coming back to haunt it.

“We were pushed very hard in 2019 and came up with a power unit in 2020 that was right there, but maybe it stretched us too much,” Wolff explained.

“If you’re constantly chasing performance, reliability sometimes falls behind. And I think that’s what happened.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

While Mercedes has understood much more about its reliability issues in recent weeks, the decision to switch Hamilton’s engine to Brazil came due to concerns about performance degradation.

As the team had to turn down the power at the end of each engine’s lifetime, it felt like it made the most sense to give Hamilton a boost with a fresh power unit.

Wolff added: “We are not yet 100 percent comfortable on our part in terms of reliability and on the breakdown side. What we know for sure is that we lose power the more we drive on it.

“That’s why we do not want to continue running this current power unit and end up in Saudi or Abu Dhabi with not much more left if we are still in the championship.”

Also read:

Despite not being completely at the top of its engine reliability right now, Wolff says Mercedes cannot get rid of its performance push ahead of an impending stall.

“You have to push hard,” he said.

“We’re fighting an extremely potent and reliable Honda engine, and these guys have spent all the resources you could potentially spend on this past season. Fair enough.

“And it will continue to be the powerhouse for the next few years, somehow in a frozen way.

“Therefore, we just have to make sure that next year we start with an engine that is as good in performance as we have now, but which can actually go through the seasons without incurring engine penalties.”