Mercedes have encountered “issues” with their power units ahead of the 2021 season, but remain confident of finding a fix.
The Silver Arrows are preparing to chase an eighth consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ Championship double in 2021, while also working hard to try and maintain their dominance under the new regulations for 2022.
And Mercedes have even more work on their hands in the engine department during this off-season after rekindling their relationship with McLaren which means they, Aston Martin and Williams all need supplies of the Mercedes power units.
But Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains managing director Hywel Thomas has confirmed there are still “issues” cropping up with the engines which require fixes before the season begins in March.
“In terms of readiness, we’ve got plenty of engines in build at the moment getting ready for the new season,” said Thomas in a video released by Mercedes.
“We have already got some of them together and we have also got engines running on the dynos right now, doing their durability runs.
“There are also engines for our customers too, which are already with them and either in the back of their chassis and fired up or in the process of doing so.
“We have got some issues with the power units. We know we have issues but we have plenty of plans in place to fix all of those issues. I’m sure it will all be ready for the first race.
“The winter is always a challenging time for us as we prepare for a new season, and this year there have been a few extra additional things thrown at us.
“It’s been the first winter when we’ve had to react to a change to the regulations, which limits the amount of dyno hours we are able to run.
“This means we have to make every single dyno run count and must make sure we are entirely productive, to learn about the performance and the reliability of the power unit during each hour.
“Also, it’s the first winter when we have prepared for only one single upgrade for the whole season.
“So we have to get all of our performance into the first PU that goes to the first race, whereas in previous seasons we have been able to split that up into different packages for each PU that gets introduced.
“With that challenge, we have to get absolutely everything there for the first race and make sure it’s completely reliable.
“Also, there are more races this season and the same number of power units, which means each individual power unit needs to run across more races. We just have to make sure we are ready for that and focus even more on reliability.
“We also have the challenge of a pretty short winter as we didn’t finish racing until the middle of December and now we are straight back into it. So, if anything, we’ve had more to do and less time to do it in.”
Mercedes are also mindful of the McLaren deal increasing their workload by “25%”, and so they do not want to “freeze” the engine specs until they are satisfied they are at maximum performance.
“The most important thing for us is because we’ll be producing more engines and sending more engines to races, we don’t want to have to freeze the specifications any earlier,” Thomas continued.
“Because that’s time we couldn’t get back, and we really need to make sure we are getting every ounce of performance and reliability into the power units.
“So that gives us the challenge of understanding how we can build the engines, can we be more effective, can we be more productive and we’ve got all the plans in place so we can build those extra 25% without having a huge impact on what we are able to take to the circuit.”