Mercedes: Power unit deficit worth less than 0.1s per lap

Mercedes says its decision to run its Formula 1 power units as conservatively as possible in Abu Dhabi does not explain the gap to Red Bull in Sunday’s race.

Mercedes: Power unit deficit worth less than 0.1s per lap

Team principal Toto Wolff revealed on Saturday that a "gremlin" related to the MGU-K meant all of the Mercedes power units had to be turned down in Abu Dhabi.

Max Verstappen took pole position for Red Bull on Saturday ahead of Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, and was able to comfortably defeat them in the race.

Verstappen mentioned that Mercedes had its power units turned down in the press conference, but neither Bottas nor Hamilton were aware.

Bottas finished more than 15 seconds behind Verstappen at the chequered flag, while Hamilton crossed the line less than two seconds clear of Alexander Albon, who finished fourth in the sister Red Bull car.

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin explained after the race that the power unit setting did not explain such a big gap to the Red Bull's pace, calling its impact "small".

"[It was] not an amount that's going to determine the race result," Shovlin said.

"You're talking significantly less than a tenth of a second, so not the difference between first and second."

Read Also:

Shovlin said the MGU-K issue was "not fully understood yet", and that the decision to run the power units in the conservative mode came through caution.

"I would say that rather than being acutely aware of a specific problem, we are operating the power unit in a way that is as conservative as we can be in order to try and avoid a problem," Shovlin said.

"But when you don't understand exactly the string of issues, all you can do is just be a bit cautious.

"During the race we were trying to reduce the duty marginally, but you're right, the drivers wouldn't have necessarily been aware of it.

"It was just something we were trying to manage in the background."

Mercedes was denied the chance to try and split strategies to pincer Verstappen with its cars by a safety car period early on that forced most teams on to the same strategy.

But Shovlin doubted split strategies would have been enough to beat Red Bull in Abu Dhabi.

"You can do something different, but to be honest, the result would probably be relatively inevitable," Shovlin said.

"Once you have all cars on the same age tyres, it neutralises the racing a bit and there wasn't a lot of opportunity therein.

"If it hadn't been for [the safety car], we would have probably used one car to pull Max in, let the other one go long, try to create a tyre delta.

"Whether it would have resulted in any position gain, looking at their pace, they were very comfortable, so I doubt it."

shares
comments

Related video

Albon feels he has "done everything" to save Red Bull seat

Previous article

Albon feels he has "done everything" to save Red Bull seat

Next article

Codemasters set to be bought by EA for $1.2bn

Codemasters set to be bought by EA for $1.2bn
Load comments
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Prime

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Prime

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why...

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021
The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower Prime

The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower

On 8 October 1961, Innes Ireland claimed victory at the United States Grand Prix to herald the true arrival of a new Formula 1 giant. While Team Lotus endured plenty of highs and lows until the team folded over three decades later, Colin Chapman's squad made F1 history and helped shape the championship.

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021