Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2018

Mercedes drivers may not get upgraded engines in France

2018 French Grand Prix

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Mercedes face a dilemma heading into the eighth round of the Formula 1 championship as they have not yet decided whether they can introduce their upgraded power unit.

The revised engine was due to be introduced at the Canadian Grand Prix but Mercedes abandoned their plan to run it two days before practice began at the track. Instead all six Mercedes-powered drivers used their original power units for the seventh race.

With each driver permitted a maximum of three power units per season without taking a penalty, Mercedes faces a difficult decision if it is unsure about the reliability of its new engine. It could replace them with the new versions which could prove unreliable, or replace them with previous-specification versions which lack the new upgrades.

Valtteri Bottas said the team will not risk running the existing engines for an eighth race.

“For sure we need to take some kind of new engine, because the other one is already seven races old,” he said. “We are very much wanting to run the new spec, but we need to confirm tomorrow if we can or not.”

“We definitively some improvements,” he added. “As it is now, we think Ferrari are the favourites, based on what we saw in Montreal both in raw pace, in qualifying, and in the race.

“We need some improvements if we want to fight for the wins, so we hope we can have it, but we also need to improve the car.”

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17 comments on “Mercedes drivers may not get upgraded engines in France”

  1. YellowSubmarine
    21st June 2018, 22:02

    Very interesting…what’s changed at Mercedes engineering to introduce this level of uncertainty in the quality of their new engines though?

    1. Q&A department moved to Maranello?

    2. Maybe the performance increase is pretty substantial but this has brought up an issue.

      Out of interest, if they commit to a second engine, is that engine then locked in? So they have to use the underpowered power unit as part of their three?

      Or can it be swapped out with an upgraded one?

      If the former, then they are between a rock an a hard place. Use the upgraded one and they could blow. Use the current design, but they are then suck with that 2nd underpowered engine.

      Or take a penalty at another race to re-introduce the faster design. ….

      1. Yes they can use it for one day or the weekend.. as long as they don’t use a 4th unit there’s no problema

      2. yes, @mach1 they do indeed have to then use that underpowered (by now because othrs have improved) design as one of the 3 units. That is the conundrum they are probably facing. A choice between a sure bet to last the distance but slower or a step forward on speed with some uncertainty over it’s durability for 7 races.

      3. Chris Garwood
        22nd June 2018, 6:44

        you can only use 3 engines per year (without penalty),ones any engine is used it is considered as one of the three, swapping constitutes using a new engine (the teams would all swap after 7 uses)

  2. Engine department letting them down but the tyre department have brought their Merc spec tyres to this race so Merc are the favourites still.

  3. Seems odd that Merc have suddenly been plagued by engine drama after hundreds of races showing German perfection and engineering. Que the conspiracy theories. Does Ferrari need to win the WDC and Constructors this year to convince Sergio Marchionne to ‘stay in F1’?

    1. I think it is just that they have to really push to get forward and ahead of Ferrari again Gemma

      1. @bascb – agreed. In previous years they started with such an advantage that they could afford to improve their PU in “baby steps”. They were still reliable because they didn’t need a huge improvement, they had the better package anyway. This year, Ferrari has stepped up their game. Their PU was really close to Mercedes’ (arguably faster since the last update), and now that Mercedes has to push their PU hard to get in front of the Ferraris, they’ve run into some reliability issues.

      2. @bascb This must be it, Ferrari have the best PU now after achieving parity last year they have managed to get a toe in front and Mercedes are having to push more aggressively after seeing the gains Ferrari made with their first round of PU’s.

    2. The engines are built and designed in Brixworth…….

    3. hundreds of races showing German perfection and engineering

      Maybe they’re busy with the recall 240,000 cars fitted with illegal emissions software.

    4. Mercedes engines and cars are all designed and built in the UK.

  4. Love to see them leave it to driver choice – “do you want the new spec which is faster but may blow or the old spec which will be reliable?”

    I suspect all of them would say – “give me the upgrade”, particularly if they’re struggling to keep up with a Ferrari or a Red Bull.

    1. I am pretty sure that would run afoul of the rule that says that the engine manufacturer has to provide all ther teams (factory team and customers) with the same engine spec @dbradock!

      1. I think they’d have that covered – pretty sure it’s “make available” not necessarily “supply” as different teams elect to have different PU Cycles.

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