Mercedes engine chief discusses the new power unit

Ben Johnston
Side-on view of Lewis Hamilton during the Mercedes W13 shakedown. Silverstone February 2022.

Side-on view of Lewis Hamilton during the Mercedes W13 shakedown. Silverstone February 2022.

Head of Mercedes High-Performance Powertrains, Hywel Thomas, says that for 2022, as is the case every season, the company is looking to find more reliability and power from their engines.

Mercedes has dominated the turbo hybrid era in Formula 1 since its introduction in 2014, winning the Constructors’ Championship, back to back from 2014-2021 which is an incredible feat for the Silver Arrows.

In an interview with , Thomas was asked to provide an overview of the new engine that will be powering the W13 to potentially more silverware in 2022.

“Our power unit for the 2022 season builds on the generation of world champion power units we have produced at Brackley since the start of the current regulatory cycle in 2014,” he said.

“Before each season, it’s about finding more power, more reliability and developing the overall power unit package.

“This year sees the addition of a completely new chassis into which we have to integrate the Power Unit – including all the challenges and opportunities that brings.

“For 2022 it’s been an extensive and in-depth project and we’ve changed more parts of the power unit this year than in any season since 2014.

“The changes are so profound that we have changed our approach to design and development.

“We started earlier and experimented with our technologies at more points during the development. It wasn’t about spreading the same amount of effort over a longer period of time, it was about having a very high level of activity over a longer period of time.”

Thomas was also asked about the upcoming engine freeze in Formula 1, effectively giving manufacturers one last opportunity to introduce a serious upgrade before the freeze comes into effect.

He added: “2021 was the first year of the regulations cycle where we had to freeze the power unit performance specification at the beginning of the season.

“For 2022 we were granted one last performance improvement, most of which has to be done at the beginning of the season. Only the ERS improvement has until September 1.

“This doesn’t just affect 2022 as the performance specification is frozen until the start of the next regulatory cycle in 2026. The project for 2022 was very extensive.



Asked about the challenges faced in creating the new power unit, Thomas responded:¬†“It’s always an interesting project when there are such significant changes to the chassis regulations.

“The chassis team has worked very diligently and quickly through the new regulations to explore its possibilities.

“We are making changes to the power unit that will allow the chassis team to make the best use of the regulations.

“We may have to change the installation a little bit or change the power unit layout to give more flexibility in the areas that are more important for a good lap time.”

“The other thing is that we never really know how much power we will find in terms of chassis performance.

“We have some very good simulation tools that we use, of course, to estimate where the chassis will end up. But we don’t know with absolute certainty.”

“That means that we won’t know exactly how the power unit will be used on the track and how it will have to react until we get on the track properly.

“We have to cover a whole range of possibilities to prepare the power unit for everything that awaits us.”

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