According to Mark Hughes and Giorgio Piola, reliability issues at Mercedes are caused by a lot of bad materials, which cause cracks in the engine. Mercedes’ new power units lose power faster than the competition, resulting in exceptional engine changes and grid penalties for Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
After the summer break, it became apparent that Mercedes had a problem with the reliability of its power sources. An engine change was made at Bottas in Italy, Russia and the United States, bringing the Finn to 6 engines this year. This is double what is allowed. Hamilton switched to its fifth engine in Brazil. By comparison: Verstappen got its fourth engine in Russia, only one more than allowed.
The problem with Mercedes is in the endurance of the power unit. New engines lose a lot of power after races, possibly due to wear and tear. Honda does not have this problem; according to Christian Horner, the engines of his team lose only a tenth of a second in their life. At Mercedes, this difference is probably much higher. Toto Wolff expects the issue to persist until the end of the season, although the team have previously said the issues have been “largely” resolved.
Cracks in the engine
Mark Hughes and Giorgio Piola, two F1 journalists specializing in the technical aspect of the sport, write in a column on the official Formula 1 website that maybe the problems at Mercedes are logistics, not engine design. In their own diplomatic words: “The reliability problem at Mercedes is linked to a problem with a batch of materials.” So it looks like Mercedes bought or made the wrong batch of materials causing wear issues. “Cracks are forming under the engine,” said Piola and Hughes.
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