The shift to a 10% ethanol fuel requirement for 2022 has affected the performance of Mercedes’ power unit, the team have admitted.
In a video posted to social media, Mercedes High Performance Powertrains managing director Hywel Thomas explained that the new fuel requirement has affected the performance of their Mercedes power unit.
“There have been biocomponents in the fuel throughout the hybrid era,” explained Thomas. “What we had was a requirement to have 5.75% by volume of bio components. The change this year is that percentage has gone up to 10%. And also, instead of it being open what those components you use, you have to use ethanol.
“What that means is the engine is going to react slightly differently to the fuel. So there’s some areas of the performance, we’re really, really happy with, and other areas where honestly, we’re less happy. What we have to do is change the fuel where we can, and change the hardware of the power unit where we can, in order to maximise the effect of the things we do like and minimise the effects of the things we don’t.”
Thomas says the while the increase from 5.75% to 10% biocomponent may not seem like a major increase, it has resulted in the most intensive development work between Mercedes and fuel partners Petronas since the move over to the V6 turbo formula in 2014.
“As in every year when we’re developing the fuel, it’s a partnership between ourselves and Petronas to make sure that the fuel is enjoying the power unit experience and the power unit is enjoying the fuel experience,” Thomas said.
“The change this year to go to the E10 is probably the largest regulation change we’ve had since 2014, so it was a sizeable undertaking to make sure that we really developed that fuel and the number of candidates that we had, the single cylinder running, the V6 running – it shouldn’t be underestimated how much work that took.”
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