Mercedes engine boss Andy Cowell says that their Formula 1 engine for the 2018 season will be “pretty much all new”. Since the introduction of Turbo V6 Hybrids in 2014, Mercedes were one of the few teams to crack the formula. As a result, they have been F1’s benchmark. They have won four successive double world championships during the V6 Turbo era. Now, the team say that the Mercedes 2018 engine will be a brand new spec.
In 2017, Ferrari caught up and provided a stiff challenge. As the season progressed, Red Bull emerged as a strong threat. For the 2018 season, Mercedes is still pushing to maintain its advantage and is planning extensive updates to the engine.
Cowell said, “Pretty much all new. It is just because we’re in the 20th race with this model. It’s had several phase-ups through the season and we’ve got ideas to improve the power, the indicated power in the engine. We’ve got ideas to reduce the friction in pretty much every area of the power unit, or the losses in electrical systems.”
F1 is now in its fifth year with the current engine formula, but Cowell believes there is still scope for more in terms of pure performance gains. He continued, “Every time you do an engine, every time you do a phase update you’ve always learned. So you freeze the concept, you do the work, you do the prove-out, you go racing and all the way along that journey it’s intensely frustrating because you’re learning but you cannot incorporate into that phase without corrupting the quality fundamentally.”
“So it’s ensuring that we do have a learning culture that observes and learns and reflects and then remembers that so then when it’s time to put the next concept together we’ve got a whole load of ideas and a lot of it is small, marginal gains on well-trodden areas. Some of it is big, fundamental bits of learning, combustion progress, friction reduction, new materials that unlock areas where we’ve been struggling with reliability. And sometimes it’s just a surprise. There’s still gains to be had [with this formula]. It’s a plethora of marginal gains, five millisecond gains.”