Mercedes is trying to balance performance and reliability throughout the remainder of the 2021 F1 season as it attempts to contain an issue with its internal combustion engine. 

Valtteri Bottas switched onto his sixth ICE of the season at the United States Grand Prix as he took his third grid penalty in the last four races, while teammate Lewis Hamilton was forced to use his fourth V6 at the previous round in Turkey.

Cowell, who led the development of the turbo hybrid engine with which Mercedes had dominated F1 for seven years, left the team at the end of last season and was replaced by Hywel Thomas. 

But Wolff insists Mercedes’ current engine reliability woes have nothing to do with Cowell’s exit. 

“The strength of the organisation is its depth,” Wolff said in Austin

“Andy is clearly an exceptional personality that contributed in his day, but so is Hywel, and everybody besides him. I have 100 percent confidence in the structure that we have today.

“Engine developments are not something that happens overnight. It has a long lead time when things go right or things go wrong.

“Andy was a massive part of our past success but so was Hywel and everybody else. So I don't think you can pinpoint it to one of the leaders having decided to leave the organisation.

“They're still really profound strengths within the organisation.”

Williams driver George Russell and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel joined Bottas in taking new components Austin, meaning that six of the eight Mercedes-powered drivers have been hit with grid penalties this season.  

It is the biggest issue Mercedes has faced since the introduction of F1’s current engine rules in 2014. 

“You can see that we are suffering with reliability this year,” Wolff admitted. 

“We’re going onto the sixth engine for Valtteri and it’s not something that we choose to do but, on the contrary, we’re trying to really get on top of the problems, and we haven’t understood fully.

“We are a step closer now, so it’s not always that we are literally easy with having the engines [ready].

“We’re hanging on for dear life supplying all customers, and that is not trivial.”