Back in December 2018, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff eluded that some problems had arisen with the new engine design for 2019.
The design shares the same brand new concept of the Championship winning 2018 engine and was very different from previous hybrid units of past seasons.
When speaking at a Hewlett Packard Enterprise conference in Madrid in December, Wolff mentioned that the development had hit a ‘snag’, thus endangering the 2019 power unit progress in relation to their competitors.
“We’ve had some good weeks in the wind tunnel, we’ve had a little bit of a setback on the engine side where we believed the new concept would deliver a little bit more.
“But these guys are very ambitious like all of us and so I’m optimistic. But you will never know. We will know when the first qualifying session gets underway in Melbourne.” confessed the Austrian.
Mercedes engineering director Aldo Costa then played down the problem saying that Wolff’s comments were “a bit misunderstood”.
“When you put a new engine with new concepts on the bench, there may be something that doesn’t work. But it’s nothing dramatic.” said Costa.
It seems that whatever set back happened then has since been rectified and improved upon.
The engineers led by Andy Cowell have found a dozen more HP’s from the internal combustion 6-cylinder part of the Mercedes M09 EQ Power Unit claim Italy’s Motorsport.com.
The Mercedes Power Unit had seemed to be overhauled in 2018 by Ferrari’s design, at least for the start of the Championship, but then Mercedes clawed back some performance and crucially better reliability in the latter stages of the season, with very few signs of the overheating and hydraulic problems seen before.
Italian Motorsport.com say that sources within the team claim the new 2019 unit has now received some modifications that have improved these issues of 2018 and that the new PU should have important margins of development both in terms of performance and fuel consumption. At least a dozen more horsepower has now been released.
A dozen horsepower might not seem a huge leap, or if its overall horsepower or peak horsepower under “party mode” conditions. But it is a very meaningful and impressive one when considering these are the latter stages of the current engine formula, and marginal gains are harder to achieve – closing up the field across the grid. Even small gains therefore make a big impact.
Unfortunately for F1 fans wishing to see close racing, this means we might see more dominance from Lewis Hamilton in 2019.