Mercedes minus ‘party mode’ still benchmark

Date published: August 21 2020

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McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl believes Mercedes will remain the “benchmark” in the current era, even if their “party mode” is banned.

One of the biggest talking points heading into the Spanish Grand Prix was the letter sent to teams by the FIA which informed them of an upcoming ban on engine “qualifying modes”.

These short-term power boosts were set to be axed for the Belgian Grand Prix, though it has now been delayed until Monza.

As expected it generated plenty of talk within the Formula 1 paddock, and the general consensus is that the ban will most heavily impact upon Mercedes and their “party mode” which gives their qualifying performance that extra kick.

But once this ban does come into effect, Seidl still sees Mercedes as the benchmark for engine manufacturers in Formula 1.

“To be honest, we only have this information from that letter, which is a confidential letter, but it doesn’t go into the detail of what actually the FIA wants to achieve,” he is quoted by Autosport.

“So we need to wait for that. As you know, nowadays with these complex power units, there’s a big priority of different settings existing for different modes on the combustion engine, for different modes of the hybrid system, the way you use the battery in for reliability for power, for attacking, defending and so on.

“And in the end, we need to wait for what change, if there’s a change, it is targeting.

“To be honest I have no overview of what the difference of the different modes is for the different engine manufacturers, because I’m sure every engine manufacturer has different modes available between qualifying and race, and also within the race.

“So I would be surprised if any engine manufacturer just has one mode available. How big the difference is between the different engine manufacturers I can’t judge. So I think that’s really a topic that needs to be sorted between the engine manufacturers and the FIA.

“I think whatever the rule changes are, I think that with the capacities and capabilities Mercedes is having, whatever the rules will be, I’m sure they will keep being the benchmark in this modern hybrid power unit era.”

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McLaren are currently powered by Renault engines, but from 2021 they will return to being a Mercedes customer.

And Seidl hopes that Renault are making all the goodies they have available to McLaren also, and expects the same of Mercedes from next year.

“For us as a customer, the most important thing is that whatever the rules are, you simply get exactly the same modes and mileage for the different modes as the works team is having,” he said.

“And here I have maximum confidence in both Renault and Mercedes, I trust that they treat the customers the same as the works team.

“I think the rules are clear that the customers always get exactly the same settings as the works teams, which is part of our contracts as well that we have with the supply.

“So as I said, that’s the most important thing for us, and we have all confidence here in Renault and Mercedes, together also with the FIA, that this is ensured.”

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