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Mercedes

Update provided over Mercedes engines after reliability issues

McLaren's Zak Brown says Mercedes are confident that they have got on top of the reliability issues that plagued their power units towards the end of the 2021 season.

Ricciardo Abu Dhabi
Article
To news overview © McLaren F1

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has explained that conversations with engine supplier Mercedes have reassured him that the manufacturer's power units should be much more reliable than towards the end of 2021.

While Mercedes have been the benchmark of power and reliability throughout the hybrid era, the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) proved problematic during 2021 and resulted in numerous grid penalties for Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.

Oddly, the problems appeared to affect the factory team more than their customer teams, but Brown is still happy that the initial reports from Brixworth (Mercedes' power unit facility in the UK) are reassuring.

"They're feeling good about their development," Brown told Autosport.

"We fortunately had good reliability last year. As you know, there's more than just the power unit that goes into the reliability.

"I think our guys did a good job of working with the power unit in year one, so reliability hasn't been maybe the same level of concern with us that it has with others.

"I spoke with Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team boss] last week about it. And he was pretty bullish.

"I think the power unit race is as close as ever, but I'm not worried about it."

Mercedes already confident engine issues had been identified

Wolff already started showing signs of confidence at the end of 2021 that the engine department had identified the problems.

"I think we've gotten on top of the reliability issue that we had," Wolff told media including RacingNews365.com.

"We didn't see that phenomenon occur anymore, which is a good step forward. Hopefully, knock on wood, from the reliability side we should be on a good trajectory."

The biggest change on the engine front over winter is to adapt them to handle the new fuel mixture – F1 introduces the E10 fuel this year, which sees the ethanol content increased to 10 per cent from around five per cent.

With Mercedes having lost engine chief Andy Cowell two years ago, Wolff denied that his departure had had an impact on their usual reliability as Hywel Thomas took over the head role.

"The strength of the organisation is its depth," Wolff said.

"Andy is clearly an exceptional personality that contributed in his day, but so is Hywel, and everybody besides him. I have 100 per cent confidence in the structure that we have today.

"Engine developments are not something that happen overnight. It has a long lead time when things go right or things go wrong."

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