Lewis Hamilton says he believes Mercedes is working hard to ensure all engine problems are solved by the time the lights go out in Melbourne.
Although Mercedes finished testing at the top of the timesheets, there have been quite a lot of issues with the manufacturer’s power unit. Valtteri Bottas’ car failed on the second day of the first test due to an “electrical issue” which was thought to be beyond repair and required the engine to be changed, but the power unit was later given an all clear and put back in on the last day of testing.
Lewis Hamilton suffered an “oil system anomaly” on the second day of the second test, which required the power unit to be shipped to Mercedes’ engine HQ in Brixworth for further examinations.
But that is not all, Williams also suffered two engine issues, requiring them to go through tree power units during pre-season testing. Motorsport.com reports that the engine issues are not identical, but there are still questions as to what is causing the problems.
Lewis Hamilton says he has faith that the team will successfully tackle those problems before the first race of the season in Australia.
“It was a difficult winter last year, and I think it’s been a difficult winter this year,” said Hamilton.
“There was a period of time with this V6 turbo where we were just gaining, gaining, gaining, gaining and gaining. But eventually, like with everything, you get to the point with limited returns.
“So it’s how much more can you squeeze out of the V6 turbo? How much further can you go?
“We are kind of in that peak top speed area now: where there is one kilometre more or one kilometre less you are gaining, for a lot of investment.
“But I fully believe in trusting the guys to be methodical with the way they move forwards and the engine is actually very good. It’s an improvement from last year.
“It’s just not quite where we want it to be reliability wise. But I am sure they are back at the factory now working hard to rectify whatever the issue is.”
Williams’ latest engine issue was encountered on the last day of testing, but the team managed to solve the problem and George Russell was able t0 resume his session.
“We had a small issue with the engine in the afternoon, but we had a good morning [where we did] a quali simulation with our turnaround,” explained Russell.
“I think it was good preparation ahead of Melbourne.
“I just get in and drive, I leave that to the guys at Mercedes and here. Obviously not ideal, but it’s one of those things.
“Mercedes is pushing the limits at the moment, and I’m sure they’ll go back and review everything. It made some funny noises and I started losing a bit of power.
“I don’t know if there’s an official word.”
Out of all the teams running Mercedes engines, Racing Point is the only one that encountered no issues during pre-season testing. The team’s technical director Andy Green said he believes Mercedes is aware of its power unit problems.
“I think HPP [Mercedes’ High Performance Powertrains] are aware of the issues over the last few weeks and have known containment measures in place,” said Green.
“I don’t think they are worried. They tell us they are not worried, so we are not worried. We think we will in a good place come Melbourne. This is testing, this is what it is all about.
“I think [these were just] some teething problems. I think they had some batch problems, but I think all of it was known problems.
“None of these are unknown problems, these are known problems that they have fixed.”