MGU-H fix for Hamilton is Mercedes’ “highest priority”

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

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Fixing the MGU-H problem Lewis Hamilton has suffered in the last two races is the “highest priority” for Mercedes according to executive director for technical Paddy Lowe.

Hamilton’s MGU-H failed during Q1 in China and Q3 in Russia, compromising his starting position for each of the last two races.

“The highest priority is to come back with our MGU-H problem solved having had a repeat fault over the past two race weekends,” said Lowe. “The team has been working day and night to understand it and we’re targeting a clean weekend all round.”

Hamilton, who last week urged his fans to ignore conspiracy theories about the faults, said “the team has been on it 24/7 since returning from Russia so I’m confident they’ll get to the bottom of the problems we’ve been having”.

“Every weekend we’ve got the car into a great place setup-wise,” he added, “I just haven’t been fully able to exploit it. So the glass is half full for me.”

Nico Rosberg also experienced a fault on his MGU-K during the Russian race. Another problem in qualifying for either of the team’s cars – or a repeat of Hamilton’s sluggish getaways in three of the first four races – is especially undesirable at the Circuit de Catalunya.

“Qualifying and race starts will also be important as it is notoriously difficult to overtake at this circuit,” said Lowe.

“There’s a common saying in Formula One that if you’re quick around Barcelona, you’ll be quick everywhere,” he added. “This makes it an important landmark in the season to see where you stand in performance terms, as most teams will be bringing a range of upgrades.”

“Of course, we’ve all been to this circuit already in 2016 during winter testing – but it’s a very different track in May compared to how it was back in March.”

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    34 comments on “MGU-H fix for Hamilton is Mercedes’ “highest priority””

    1. Pretty much a statement of the obvious. Be too much to hope that they’ve not been able to bring any development pieces to the race because they’ve had no opportunity to do anything other than work on the fault.

      1. Yeah I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one. They’ve probably known for weeks if not of few months what they are bringing to Spain.

      2. The aero upgrades will have been in the pipeline since Winter testing, and won’t really impact the efforts to solve what’s going wrong with the MGU-H, unless it turns out to be some form of aero interaction. Totally different parts of the team.

      3. Perhaps the issue is driving style. With the increase in HP from the competition the MB engine is taped so that the MGU H is engaged sooner and Lewis trail bless and is on the throttle sooner which loads the system slightly sooner which may create excessive mechanical loads on the system.

        1. Mapped not taped and trail brakes not trail bless

    2. It would be really annoying if Lewis had another mechanical problem this weekend. I’m hoping he gets a trouble free weekend without anyone crashing in to him, so finally we can see a fair fight between him and Nico. It’s about time Lewis gets his championship campaign started

      1. I agree. I hope Nico wins the title, but I just don’t want it to happen in a dominant manner.

        1. I’d like it to last most of the Season, so then it would be good if Hamilton finishes a bit ahead of Rosberg in some of the coming races. Then again, both Spain and Monaco have seen Rosberg ahead recently.

    3. So this is from a Mercedes release dated today. Sounds like they still haven’t solved it, then? Scary if so.

    4. “There’s a common saying in Formula One that if you’re quick around Barcelona, you’ll be quick everywhere.” This was true maybe 10 or 15 years ago, but with Tilkedromes filling the calendar the medium and fast corners that Circuit de Catalunya contains are a rarity these days.

    5. Well, both cars had 4-6 issues + several failures, while pulling major gaps to opposition.

      Maybe Mercedes should run their cars a bit more reliably.

      But then as we saw in WEC, WTCC, BTCC, reliability is a big issue in 2016.

      Racers being racers, pushing beyond reliability to gain that tiny bit more performance.

    6. Fudge Ahmed (@)
      9th May 2016, 16:06

      Why don’t Mercedes just replace that MGU-H with a spanking new one and reuse this one later in the season once they’ve had time to thoroughly repair it?

      I’m guessing it’s not as simple as that but these regulations about what constitutes a new unit and a repaired one and the grid penalties and all this crap is what skews the driver championship (the only thing the public actually care about) and leads to these silly conspiracy theories. Penalise the constructor through points or financially but let the drivers championship be a straight fight ffs. Instead of a 5 place grid penalty for a changed gearbox just award 25% constructors points for that car and a fine, and donate that money to a cleaner emissions charity or something.

      1. I don’t care about the drivers championship it’s all about the cars for me, so that’s a sweeping statement. Drivers come and go teams like Ferrari have been there since the start. For me a driver is just a bit of meat that is needed to make the car go and some are slightly better than others. Also is a driver crashes why should the team lose the constructors points? They are one in the same a driver is no more a part of the package as a front win or brake disc.

        1. Fudge Ahmed (@)
          9th May 2016, 16:51

          I would hazard a guess that you are very much in the minority and that if F1 was a constructors championship only with a rotating team of drivers per race, the sport would fall from popularity faster than Oscar Pistorius. But each to their own. 👍🏽

          1. Maybe maybe not. People follow the sport through generations so drivers come and go. If you go to Monza you will see it is Ferrari more than the drivers. In fact I see more Ferrari flags than individual driver flags at nearly all the crowd pictures on TV. Alright to like both but to try and not penalise drivers for car failures is ridiculous and unworkable. The driver is 1 element of the TEAM.

      2. Because they’ve had two fail now, three if you count the issue with Rosberg’s so there is clearly a design fault they need to work to address.

      3. @offdutyrockstar

        That’s exactly how they approached Russia and the new unit experienced the same fault.

        Given that both units were fine in the preceeding races (Bahrain and China respectively) before failing very specifically during quali at the following race, combined with the fact Mercedes have hinted it may be how Hamilton is setting up the car, I’d suggest they have more than a fair inkling of what the problem is.

        Hopefully they can repair and reuse the failed units.

        1. Fudge Ahmed (@)
          9th May 2016, 16:54

          That’s the first time I have heard that theory, how exactly does a driver set up his engine? I thought the whole furore about Bahrain 2014 was that the two Mercedes drivers used different throttle maps and that going forward they are now bound to identical software modes? Setup is primarily suspension balance which as far as I have ever heard or understand has no bearing on the heat energy harvesting module within the power unit?

          1. I think that was Toto @offdutyrockstar. Not suggesting that it’s Hamilton’s fault but a place to start looking for a clue. They program the ERS to each track, harvesting and deploying at specific places for specific amounts, so I guess they adjust it for each driver too? Or for their position in the race perhaps, whether they need to pass or cruise? So perhaps Lewis’ system was getting though more charge/discharge cycles, or longer periods of one or the other or something like that.

            I’m not sure if Nico’s problem was the same, or whether it came on while he was lapping that bunch of cars. Seems to be something they didn’t find in all that testing, anyway. So I’m guessing they’re looking for a pattern of usage that sets it off.

          2. Lewis is maybe harder on his engine than Nico eg pushing the engine more to find that extra tenth for pole or trying to move up the grid due to bad start or whatever. Same as someone who drives his Focus at 80mph may get a problem arise before the person doing 50. Wear and tear on engine parts .

            1. @sonia54

              Except that is entirely hypothetical as we don’t get to see the throttle traces. The only data we do get to see is usually fuel usage, which has over the last few seasons favoured Hamilton. Add that Mercedes have been providing F1 race engines to Hamilton for his entire career and even if a slightly different driving style is causing the failures, I’d call that a design fault given they have close to a decade of data on how he uses an engine.

            2. Hamilton had no issues pretty season or 1st 2 races but has since he was hit in Bahrain. Could chassis be damaged causing a vibration that is affecting his mgu-h? To cover all bases I expect they might change his chassis.

            3. Yeah, Hamilton doesn’t understand all the blinky lights, so he slams the steering wheel with his stone club.

              For 2014 and 2015, Hamilton got more speed, with less fuel usage, so where in the name of all that’s holy does the idea that Hamilton is harder on his engine come from?!?

              Harder on his brakes, yes– that’s a well documented fact. Hamilton is a demon on braking.

              But Hamilton pretty much wrote the book on “lift and coast”, which is about as far from engine abuse as you can get.

            4. @grat addition to your comment, he finished a little less than half race distance with zero pressure on his cooling? all his cooling liquid what not leaked out! his pressure dropped for sometime before it stabilized at zero :) if you call it stabilized… he still finished well clear of kimi?

    7. “There’s a common saying in Formula One that if you’re quick around Barcelona, you’ll be quick everywhere.” – Well, they (Mercedes) were quick in Spain last year, but slow in Singapore for example, so not exactly.

      1. Hehe, but they were quick everywhere else…

        1. Yes, but the point is that being fast at this circuit doesn’t automatically translate into being fast everywhere.

    8. Everybody laments Lewis reliability issues; well, if only Ferrari would have been as unreliable as Mercedes so that they could have finished all four races so far, with both drivers …

      1. Bet Ferrari wish their failures were in qualifying and not the race so they had a chance to score points.

      2. Hahahaha. This, is quite an amusing point.

    9. He had really a lot of problem, but I think he can improve on the results.

      1. Lee Porcelli
        10th May 2016, 6:50

        I believe Mercedes is throwing all resources at the problem. Lewis has asked if Nico s mechanics can have a look at the car.It would put his mind at ease.

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