Williams Formula 1 driver George Russell will take on a new Mercedes power unit at this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix.

It comes after engine issues forced Russell into retirement from the 2020 F1 season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.

The Briton had been running as high as 12th-place in the opening round of the delayed campaign at the Red Bull Ring when his Williams conked out on the 49th lap, causing a Safety Car period.

Williams initially believed that the problem was a fuel pressure issue  following an initial assessment after the race. But after further investigations at Mercedes’ HPP facility in Brixworth, it was discovered that his power unit actually suffered a gear drive failure.

As a result, Russell’s car will be fitted with a new ICE, MGU-H and turbo for the second race of the season in Spielberg.

Russell will step aside for the opening practice session at the Red Bull Ring as Williams reserve driver Jack Aitken makes his grand prix weekend bow for the team during FP1.

Mercedes had a few engine-related reliability scares during the Austrian Grand Prix as Racing Point’s Lance Stroll also retired after encountering power unit problems.

However, it was later discovered that the cause of the Canadian’s retirement from the race was not actually related to the Mercedes PU in his RP20.

Mercedes suffered a number of engine issues throughout pre-season testing but was confident it had found fixes to the reliability gremlins come the start of the season.

Only 11 drivers finished the Austrian Grand Prix as a number retired with reliability problems, with Russell’s Williams teammate Nicholas Latifi finishing as the last classified runner in P11 on his F1 debut.

 

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