Mercedes engine boss uncovers the ‘real departure’ team faced for F1 2023

Michelle Foster
Mercedes revised cooling inlets. Spa July 2023

Mercedes W14 with its revised cooling inlets. Spa July 2023

In the dark over Mercedes’ potential bouncing and downforce with the W14, engine boss Hywel Thomas says his department had to “be ready for whatever came” despite being in the midst of an engine freeze.

Formula 1 entered the second year of its power unit freeze in 2023, with nine parts – the V6 engine, turbocharger, MGU-H, MGU-K, energy store, control electronics, exhaust system, fuel, and engine oil – all frozen in either March or September last season.

Manufacturers, though, are permitted to make changes “for the sole purposes of reliability, safety, cost-saving” as well as “minimal incidental changes” which relate to car installation.

Mercedes engine boss on the ‘challenges’ they have faced

Mercedes was one of those that made changes over the winter based on reliability.

“This is the second year of the performance hardware freeze,” Hywel Thomas, the managing director of Mercedes’ High Performance Powertrains engine division, said as per Racingnews365.

“That still allowed us to do reliability upgrades over the winter and we corrected several areas we’d learned about over the previous season.”

However, the team’s engine personnel were given an added conundrum this year with the inclusion of a software freeze.

“We also had the software freeze for the first time,” Thomas continued.

“That was a real departure for us and took some thought on our approach to it. And then we had the challenge of getting lots of hardware together for the first hardware drop. recommends

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“We also weren’t entirely sure of the sort of performance the cars would have this year, the amount of bouncing, downforce and therefore amount of full throttle time. It all seemed a bit up in the air, so we tried to keep an open mind and be ready for whatever came.”

Earlier this year Thomas spoke about the challenges facing his department, saying: “It’s only through real innovation and relentless work can you bring any performance forward” given the engine freeze.

“The mindset I’ve seen and the one we discussed has been about relentless development,” he added.

Mercedes are second in the Constructors’ Championship on 247 points, 256 behind runaway championship leaders Red Bull.

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