George Russell, Mercedes, Baku City Circuit, 2022

Bouncing was ‘breaking our engines’ at start of 2022 – Mercedes

2022 F1 season

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Mercedes had to overcome engine-related problems this year which were provoked by the serious bouncing problems they encountered with their W13.

Their initial concern with their power unit regarded its performance within the car at the start of the season, when Mercedes were only an outside threat for podium finishes. The damaging effects of porpoising also became a worry, the team explained.

In a video published by Mercedes, Hywel Thomas, the managing director of its powertrain division, and team principal Toto Wolff discussed the impact of the engines on this year’s form.

“We came out at the beginning of the season with some wobbles on the power unit,” said Wolff. “We didn’t like certain aspects of the deployment or the drive-ability of the power unit. And whilst in the frozen environment, you and your team, you were able to really add on performance and cope with the difficult environment of a bouncing car that was breaking your engine.

“Still we were super-reliable and the engine was performing very well towards the middle of the season and the end.”

Formula 1’s engine regulations were frozen at the beginning of the year so Mercedes’ current power unit design will continue to be used by the team and its customers until 2026.

“At the beginning of the season, the two big things that we had was firstly the power was going to get frozen and it was going to be a hardware freeze,” added Thomas. “And that’s what we were going to be using for the next three years.

“So we had a really big development programme over the whole of last year and through that winter and just trying to make sure we landed that it was a real big effort, a really, really big effort.”

But that design had not taken into consideration the severe forces that would be applied due to porpoising – the aggressive bottoming out and bouncing most F1 cars suffered with this year.

“It was becoming very clear that the engines were taking a hell of a pounding,” Thomas explained. “The bottom of the engines.

“I think when [Wolff] came up to Brixworth last week and saw some of the some of the parts that were off the race engines, it’s quite a surprise to see exactly how hard they were being hit by the ground. And when you see Lewis [Hamilton] and George [Russell] looking a bit uncomfortable getting out of the cars, the PUs were doing much the same.”

Nonetheless Mercedes had strong engine reliability compared to their rivals over the season as a whole. Wolff credited the powertrain department for some of the lap time gains the team realised during the second half of the year.

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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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15 comments on “Bouncing was ‘breaking our engines’ at start of 2022 – Mercedes”

  1. Should have changed the setup of their car if that were the cars.

    Instead, they went all political and had their FIA buddies try to neuter everyone else’s cars.

    1. *the case

    2. …they went all political and had their FIA buddies try to neuter everyone else’s …

      Is everything in your mind a conspiracy, or do you just reserve your insanity for Mercedes?

      1. Why call it a conspiracy? It is simply a fact, Merc played the political game well, better than their competitors. We all know its part and parcel of f1 so why try to discredit someones post like this? Bit weak.

    3. Because no other team ever did that, right? Red Bull never lobbied the FIA to freeze the engines when Honda left? Ferrari never lobbied to change to a V6 instead of an inline 4? I could cite dozens of other examples of different teams doing exactly the same thing, sooner successful and some not.

      All the teams, especially the top teams, continuously lobby the FIA to try to make the rules better for them. Yet you constantly call out Mercedes for doing so, and ignore all other teams doing exactly the same thing.

      1. Whataboutism is unbecoming to you.

        1. And continuously attacking one team for doing the same as every other is unbecoming on your.

      2. Red Bull never lobbied the FIA to freeze the engines when Honda left?

        Honda actually left? Really?

        Actually, I suppose that needs thought – if Honda haven’t really left, then there obviously doesn’t need to be an engine freeze to help RBR out of the imagined hole.

  2. After so many years of utter engine-based dominance without others being able to catch up it’s good to see Mercedes having engine issues for once.

    1. Yeah, I mean, Force India / Aston Martin, McLaren and Williams have just been absolutely smashing every other team on the grid, just because of their engine.

      1. 2014-2017 were very much all about the Mercedes engine. And until this year, they haven’t been an undesirable engine at any point either.

        1. Again, your claim is borne out by the runaway success of the Force India, Williams and Manor teams between 2014 and 2017. In fact, in 2017, the Mercedes engine was such a runaway success that Ferrari was leading the championship for the first 12 races.

          Since 2014, even in 2022, the Mercedes chassis has been at worst, the third best on the grid, and claiming it’s just the engine is a sign of severe self-deception.

          1. In 2014 Mercedes turned down the engines to not make their giant advantage to obvious. They said it themselves. Their chassis was good too, but the advantage their engine gave them was insane.

          2. Again, your claim is borne out by the runaway success of the Force India, Williams and Manor teams between 2014 and 2017

            Compared to their relative performance and results either side of that period – yeah, that’s right.
            They were relatively successful during those years.

            When the other engines caught up, the relative performance of those teams dropped significantly for 2018 and beyond.

          3. Detuned client engines

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