The German producer has confronted ongoing considerations about its energy unit this season, with each Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas having been hit by a run of grid penalties for the reason that summer season break.
Hamilton, who is under investigation for a DRS infringement in qualifying, has taken a brand new inside combustion engine for this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix and will serve a five-place grid penalty on Sunday.
The Mercedes state of affairs is a shock contemplating how little hassle it has confronted with reliability all through the turbo hybrid period, with Honda’s F1 technical chief Toyoharu Tanabe remarking that he “cannot believe” why its rival has struggled so much.
Nevertheless, group boss Toto Wolff thinks the present difficulties are a consequence of Mercedes having over-reached in chasing efficiency through the 2019 marketing campaign – when Ferrari had an influence benefit.
That season proved controversial with Ferrari’s energy unit being topic to an FIA investigation about potential behaviour that acquired round F1’s strict gasoline circulate limits.
Whereas the FIA was unable to show that Ferrari broke the rules, the following introduction of an additional gasoline circulate sensor served to drag the Italian group’s efficiency again.
On the time, Mercedes was upset as a result of it felt that its employees had been pushed to their limits to match the Ferrari efficiency that it felt had been the results of the Italian group pushing the boundaries of the foundations.
Now, Wolff means that measures it took again then to play catch up for 2020 are actually coming again to hang-out it.
“We have been pushed very laborious in 2019, and got here with an influence unit in 2020 that was proper there, however perhaps it stretched us an excessive amount of,” defined Wolff.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12
Picture by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images
“If you’re within the fixed pursuit of efficiency, generally reliability falls behind. And I suppose that is what occurred.”
Whereas Mercedes has understood much more about its reliability issues in current weeks, the choice to alter Hamilton’s engine for Brazil got here because of concerns over performance degradation.
With the group needing to wind down energy on the finish of every engine’s life, it felt that giving Hamilton a lift with a recent energy unit made most sense.
Wolff added: “We aren’t but one hundred pc snug from our aspect from reliability and from the degradation aspect. What we all know for positive is that we’re dropping energy the extra we run that.
“That’s why we wouldn’t need to proceed to run this present energy unit and find yourself in Saudi or Abu Dhabi with not rather more left, if we’re nonetheless within the championship.”
Regardless of not being totally on high of its engine reliability proper now, Wolff says that Mercedes can not ease off with its efficiency push forward of a looming improvement freeze.
“You could push laborious,” he stated.
“We’re combating a particularly potent and dependable Honda engine, and these guys have put all of the useful resource that you may probably deploy on this final season. Truthful sufficient.
“And that can proceed to be the facility unit within the subsequent few years, indirectly in a frozen method.
“Due to this fact we simply want to ensure subsequent 12 months we begin with an engine that’s nearly as good in efficiency as we have now now, however that may really undergo the seasons with out incurring engine penalties.”