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Toto Wolff

Wolff denies Cowell's departure has impacted Mercedes' reliability

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has ruled out the chance that Andy Cowell's departure is a contributing factor for their engine reliability concerns.

Hamilton USA 2021
To news overview © Mercedes

Toto Wolff has denied that the departure of former Mercedes engine department head Andy Cowell has had a detrimental effect on their engine reliability.

Cowell had been the Managing Director of the Mercedes High Performance Powertrains company, Mercedes' F1 engine department, throughout the hybrid era. He left to pursue new career opportunities outside of Formula 1 at the end of 2020. His successor is Hywel Thomas.

2021 marks the first year that Mercedes have had notable reliability concerns with their hybrid power unit, with three of the four power unit changes at this weekend's United States Grand Prix being for Mercedes or their customers.

This comes after Mercedes boss Wolff admitted to their Internal Combustion Engine having "no durability" as Valtteri Bottas moved onto his sixth ICE of the season.

With Mercedes having lost Cowell, as well as their Head of Engineering Ben Hodgkinson, who has left for Red Bull Powertrains, Wolff explained that the departure of high profile senior members of staff hasn't had an impact on the quality of their engineering.

"The strength of the organisation is its depth," Wolff told select members of the media, including RacingNews365.com.

"Andy [Cowell] is clearly an exceptional personality that contributed in his day, but so is Hywel [Thomas], and everybody besides him. I have 100 percent 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.

"Andy was a massive part of our past success, so was Hywel and everybody else. So I don't think you can pinpoint it to one of the leaders having decided to leave the organisation.

"They're still really profound strengths within the organisation."

Asked earlier in the weekend to shed light on what exactly the issue is within the Mercedes power unit, Wolff wouldn't elaborate on what's the stumbling block for their engines.

"I wouldn't want to disclose what it is, for obvious reasons, but it is always a concern," he said.

"I think that, when you look at Monza, for example, with Valtteri starting from the back... we push the performance every year.

"We've come to a point where pushing performance has cost us points, but over the last seven or eight years, that mindset has won us races and championships.

"I would have hoped for less penalties and to have used less engines but, this year, it has really hit us hard. McLaren and Aston Martin were more fortunate and, in that respect, we just have to take it on the chin and do the best possible job."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: Are Mercedes and Hamilton hiding reliability problems in F1 title race?

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F1 2021 US Grand Prix RN365 News dossier