Mercedes is already working to put fixes in place after encountering “some issues” with its power unit ahead of the 2021 Formula 1 season.

With engine upgrades restricted to just one between the end of 2020 and the end of 2021, there is even more emphasis for manufacturers to ensure they extract maximum performance out of their power unit for the new season.

Mercedes faces the additional challenge of having to produce further engines at its High Performance Powertrains division in Brixworth this year due to having a new customer in the shape of McLaren.

The reigning world champions reported troubles with its power unit ahead of the 2020 F1 season and suffered a number of failures in pre-season testing, before seemingly rectifying the problems ahead of the campaign.

And it hasn’t been all plain sailing for Mercedes 12 months on either, with Mercedes-AMG HPP managing director Hywel Thomas conceding the team has stumbled across some problems that is already looking to resolve.

“In terms of readiness, we’ve got plenty of engines in build at the moment getting ready for the new season,” Hywel said. “We have already got some of them together and we have also got engines running on the dynos right now, doing their durability runs.

“There are also engines for our customers too, which are already with them and either in the back of their chassis and fired up, or in the process of doing so.

“We have got some issues with the Power Units; we know we have issues but we have plenty of plans in place to fix all of those issues. I’m sure it will all be ready for the first race.”

Mercedes technical director James Allison recently said reacting to four key aerodynamic rule changes was already providing the team its “most intense and difficult” challenge with its 2021 F1 car.

Due to its success last season, Mercedes also faces restricted dyno running, putting increased pressure to get the production of the power unit right heading into a record-breaking 23-round F1 season.

"The winter is always a challenging time for us, as we prepare for a new season, and this year there have been a few extra additional things thrown at us,” Hywel explained.

“It’s been the first winter where we’ve had to react to a change to the regulations, which limits the amount of dyno hours we’re able to run. This means we have to make every single dyno run count and must make sure that we are entirely productive, to learn about the performance and the reliability of the Power Unit during each hour.

“Also, it’s the first winter where we have prepared for only one single upgrade for the whole season. So, we have to get all of our performance into the first PU that goes to the first race, whereas in previous seasons we have been able to split that up into different packages for each PU that gets introduced. So, with that challenge, we have to get absolutely everything there for the first race and make sure it’s completely reliable.

“Also, there are more races this season and the same number of Power Units, which means that each individual Power Unit needs to run across more races. We just have to make sure that we are ready for that and focus even more on reliability.

“We also have the challenge of a pretty short winter, as we didn’t finish racing until the middle of December and now, we’re straight back into it. So, if anything, we’ve had more to do and less time to do it in.”

 

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