After being forced to delay their major update from being introduced in Canada, Mercedes may have to do it again. The team were supposed to introduce an upgraded new engine for the French Grand Prix. But for some reason, the world champions cannot confirm if it will be used.
Instead, a decision will be made after Friday practice at the Paul Ricard circuit. Meanwhile, Ferrari, Renault and Honda have all introduced new engines in Montreal.
Although the Silver Arrows will get new engine fitted to the cars this week, they may not contain the upgrades.
“I am not concerned,” said Lewis Hamilton. “We can’t be perfect all the time, but we’re always striving to be better. I truly believe my my guys will do the better job [than Ferrari and Red Bull].”
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas said: “This season is extremely close. Any gain we can get is extremely important if we are to win the title. Every tenth is crucial.”
Hamilton currently trails Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by a solitary point in the Drivers’ World Championship. On the constructors front, Mercedes hold a 17-points advantage over Ferrari.
While running ‘spec one’ units, Mercedes were soundly beaten by Ferrari in Montreal.
The original Mercedes unit reached the end of its shelf-life in Canada and the new engines at Paul Ricard will only be a fresh version of the ‘spec one’ units.
The upgraded units’ usability could prove critical in Mercedes’ fight with Ferrari and Red Bull. With a plethora of power-hungry circuits next on the 2018, the German team have their work cut out.
Bottas missed out on pole position to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by less than a tenth of a second in Montreal. He said: “We need the engine upgrade. Today showed we are not quick enough.”
The Finn added: “Ferrari are the favourites coming into this weekend based on so we definitely need improvement.”