Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Paul Ricard, 2018

Mercedes hasn’t run upgraded engine at full power yet

2018 French Grand Prix

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Mercedes has not run its upgraded “Phase 2.1” power unit to its maximum potential yet according to the team’s drivers.

Lewis Hamilton headed both practice sessions as the team and its engine customers ran new engines, turbochargers and MGU-Hs for the first time.

However Valtteri Bottas only managed seven laps in second practice after a water leak was discovered on his car.

“I only got a few laps in, then we had a water leak which we’re currently investigating,” said Bottas. “Unfortunately, that meant that I didn’t really get a lot of long runs in.

“We were running the new spec engine today which felt fresh and good, but we didn’t run it yet in full power, so there’s more to discover.

“We need to identify the cause of the water leak, but we’re confident that we continue to run the new engine. We looked competitive in both sessions today, but we know that Ferrari has performance in hand on Fridays, so let’s wait and see what tomorrow and Sunday hold for us.”

Technical director James Allison said the team had “moved mountains” to have the upgraded power unit ready in time for this race having postponed its planned introduction two weeks ago. Hamilton thanked the team for ensuring it was ready in time.

“The new engine feels clean and fresh but we won’t really know its full potential until tomorrow when everyone gets to turn their engines up,” he said. “I’m grateful for the hard work that everyone put into it back in Brixworth. They’ve been pushing so hard to get this engine and do it in the right way.”

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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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11 comments on “Mercedes hasn’t run upgraded engine at full power yet”

  1. Do the customer teams get told when and for how long they can run their engines at full power?
    Only, Williams are at the foot of the table and so I assume they haven’t been allowed to run the new PU in ‘Party Mode’ and I wonder if they will be allowed to do so in P3 or Qualifying. Either that, or the upgraded PU is for reliability/longevity/economy rather than outright power.
    Or have I misunderstood completely?

    1. customers are told how long they can run the engines for at each settings. Running it at max performance decreases it´s life span and increases the chance of a failure so the Mercedes engine team will test the engines to certain tolerances and then tell the customers that ¨we have tested it at 100% for 30 laps and it was ok, more than that and you start to see too much wear¨.

      I think that on Fridays there is just no reason to run the engines at full power because of the limited life span that they have, you need to save at for qualifying and then the race. Friday is more about trimming the car and working out the tyres and brake balance. Max performance comes on Saturday in FP3 and then Qualifying and by the end of that they may have a few laps in hand to use max power during the race.

      Because the engines have to last X many races, this is a bit of a balancing game to make sure that the engine is still able to produce qualifying levels of performance at each race until they can use a new engine.

    2. @nickwyatt, at this stage in the weekend, there is no point in using a higher power mode – there is no benefit, since the times are worthless, and only the negative of increased wear on the engines that results from it. Equally, given how much is wrong with Williams’s chassis this year, it’s not exactly surprising that they are languishing so far down the table with a car that they’ve completely messed up with.

    3. @nickwyatt – I remember that in Australia, Williams mistakenly ran Stroll’s engine in the higher power mode on Friday, resulting in him no longer being able to use it for the rest of the lifespan of that engine.

  2. ummm, nobody is fooling anyone…the MB powerplant Williams and the others get is not the same as the one in the Silver cars. yeh, the basic lump and most of the mguh(ache as the Brits pronounce it!) is the same on the outside. I’ll guarantee the inners are filled with more exotic stuff the customers don’t get. After that, If you blow it up, it’s your’s! Sure the factory has guidelines for controls and break-in. It’s a common ECU for all and that pretty well manages things. Can’t have some lesser outfit out running the factory…bad look you know!

    1. Completely wrong!

  3. Ha Ha, pretty funny! Bottas says he suspects that Ferrari are sandbagging, but admits his engine was not turned up full strength. I wonder if the irony escaped him.

  4. Another over hyped propaganda again from Mercedes, come Saturday and qualifying Ferrari will show who is the 2018 most powerful engine. Expect at least another 2 sec reduction on lap time.

    1. Sebastian comments and opinions should only be carefully taken into consideration. Sebastian Vettel is pure athlete with a healthy mindset.
      He is carrying 4 times  f1 world championship title for the longest time anong other racers. Opinions of others can be neglected and  questioned, but he is always telling what he is thinking and feeling.
      He only speaks and expresses his opinion without making comparisons of Ferrari with other racing brands.
      Because, there is no need.
      Ferrari is Ferrari…
      King is king.

  5. There has been a recent FIA instruction that all the engines should be exactly the same across the board.

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