Schumacher fears return to old engine coming in Baku

Date published: June 4 2021 - Jamie Woodhouse

Mick Schumacher

After oil-related issues in Baku, Mick Schumacher thinks he may be contesting the rest of the weekend with the old Ferrari power unit.

Mercedes and Ferrari introduced a new, updated engine for themselves and their customer teams for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but so far a few issues have been cropping up.

Nicholas Latifi over at Williams saw his new power unit cut out during FP2, leaving him stranded at Turn 15.

And now Schumacher suspects that his reliability issues during practice originated from an oil problem, and so while he could not add much detail, he does suspect that Haas may need to return to running the old spec engine.

“At the moment it looks likely to be something to do with oil, I’m not 100% sure so I think it is best to ask the team about it,” he told reporters when asked for the cause of his issues.

“But the fact is that we probably have to change engines, back to the first PU, so we will find out and hopefully everything will be fine for tomorrow.”

Schumacher said the grip levels did increase for the afternoon session, likely aided by Formula 2 qualifying which had taken place during the break in action for Formula 1.

But with only 12 laps on the board for FP2, Schumacher is left still trying to put the “puzzle together” that is his Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

“It was quite slippery, I think that the track was quite dirty to begin with this morning, and then it didn’t really clean up through the session,” he explained.

“But then with F2 running I think that the track did clean up a bit for FP2, unfortunately we didn’t get all the laps in that we wanted, a few issues, then still got to do one flying lap on the C5 and one or two laps on high-fuel.

“So in general we do still have stuff to learn, but we did learn quite a bit already and now it’s about putting those things together, putting the puzzle together let’s say to then be in a good window for FP3 and qualifying.”

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After a much improved showing in Monaco, Nikita Mazepin continued on the right path in Baku, ending FP1 very much on Schumacher’s tail and then improving to P18 by the end of FP2.

He and his team may not have had much sleep lately, but all the hard work is very much paying off.

“I really enjoyed today, just like I did in Monaco,” said Mazepin.

“I think the little sleep that me and the team around me had since Barcelona kind of paid off, we are in a good place, we are doing very important steps forward.

“Although the car is not very performant on high-downforce tracks and low-downforce tracks, the steps that we were able to [take] to extract the performance out of the car are very encouraging. Friday has gone to plan.

“I think long runs are our stronger point this weekend rather than short ones.”

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