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Mercedes reveal the challenges faced with their 2022 engine

Mercedes have highlighted the hurdles encountered with their engine development for the 2022 season, putting a particular emphasis on F1's fuel changes.

Mercedes have admitted that they are "really happy" in some areas and "less happy" in others as they prepare to lock in the performance of their 2022 Formula 1 power unit for the upcoming engine freeze. In simple terms, the freeze is an enforced sport-wide shutdown of all power unit-related research and development, ahead of the planned introduction of a new engine formula for the 2026 season . One of the major considerations for engine manufacturers in 2022 is the introduction of a new 'E10' fuel, which is more sustainable and raises the ethanol content from 5.75 per cent to 10 per cent – bringing with it a drop in horsepower. All manufacturers, along with their fuel and lubricant suppliers, have been pushing to make up lost ground in this area, while maximising all-round performance and reliability before the 1 March deadline .

Mercedes happy in some areas, less happy in others

Hywel Thomas, the Managing Director of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, described the move to E10 fuel as "probably the largest regulation change we've had since 2014", when the turbo-hybrid era began. "There have been bio components in the fuel, and throughout the hybrid era, what we had was a requirement to have 5.75 per cent by volume of bio components," said Thomas in the third part of the 'Road to 2022' video explainer series released by Mercedes. "The change this year is that percentage has gone up to 10 per cent, and also, instead of it being open what bio components use, you've had to use ethanol. "The change to the bio content to being ethanol means the engine is going to react slightly differently to the fuel. "There's some areas of 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 PU where we can, in order to maximise the effects of the things we do like and minimise the effects of the things we don't."

Combining the chassis and the engine

The arrival of new fuel coincides with a complete overhaul of F1's regulations for the 2022 campaign, with a new 'ground effect' aerodynamic concept, bigger wheels and a host of other changes coming into play . "With 2022 being an all-new chassis, what that means is that we have an opportunity to look at everything again," explained Thomas. "There are areas on the car which will be very sensitive to lap time, and there'll be other areas on the car which are less sensitive. "What we're trying to do with the PU is to make sure that we stay as far away as we can from the sensitive areas, to give as much flexibility as possible for the car designers, and to package the parts of the PU into areas where there's less sensitivity. "It means working hand in glove with chassis department, with all those engineers, to make sure that the PU fits in exactly where it needs to, to make sure we can make the fastest overall package." Mercedes are set to launch their new W13 on 18 February.

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