Mercedes faced own engine dramas in first F1 2020 test

Mercedes’ first Formula 1 2020 pre-season test may have looked like it ran like clockwork, but it has emerged that the German car manufacturer did have some reliability concerns after being forced to change an engine.

Mercedes faced own engine dramas in first F1 2020 test

Drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were fastest overall, topping the times on two of the three days, as their new W11 proved to be fast straight out of the box. It was in contrast to main rival Ferrari, which had a low-key week at Barcelona that was not helped when Sebastian Vettel suffered an engine problem on the final morning of the test.

Read Also:

But while Mercedes appeared to run without drama, Motorsport.com has learned that the electrical problems that stopped Bottas on the second day of testing were more terminal than original indicated. In fact, the power unit itself was broken and had to be replaced.

Mercedes engine chief Andy Cowell had admitted over the winter that its development had not been without drama.

“[There's] lots going on in Brixworth, lots of improvements across the whole power unit, on the ERS side, on the internal combustion engine side," said Cowell.“As ever, [we're] fighting a few little issues as we pull everything together.

“So lots of work going into building the right spec, getting it long-runned, and then providing power units to the teams so that they can fire up their cars.”

Williams rookie Nicholas Latifi also lost track time on Friday when his Mercedes power unit required changing.

Ferrari and Mercedes were not the only manufacturers to change an engine, because Honda also had to make a precautionary engine change on the second day when a problem was detected on Alex Albon’s power unit. But the Japanese manufacturer gave that power unit the all clear after checks and it was refitted for the final day of running.

Looking at the distance covered per manufacturer, Honda had an impressive start to testing…

Laps per power unit

Power unit (teams) Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Total Average per team

GP distance

 

 Mercedes
(Mercedes/Racing Point/
Williams)
417 444 326 1,187 396 17.98
 Ferrari
(Ferrari/Haas/Alfa Romeo)
374 414 304 1,092 364 16.55
 Honda
(Red Bull/AlphaTauri)
284 281 290 855 427.5 12.95
 Renault
(Renault/McLaren)
279 230 294 803 401.5 12.17

F1 teams are limited to using three engines for the entire season, which means each power unit has to cover thousands of kilometres.

Last year, Motorsport.com revealed just how far a typical Mercedes component had covered as Hamilton rounded off the season at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Part

Distance completed

Internal Combustion Engine

5,578km

Turbo

5,578km

MGU-H

5,578km

MGU-K

7,281km

Control Electronics

12,966km

Energy Storage

8,164km

shares
comments
Tech analysis: Red Bull goes own way with new suspension idea

Previous article

Tech analysis: Red Bull goes own way with new suspension idea

Next article

What we’ve learned from the first F1 2020 test

What we’ve learned from the first F1 2020 test
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021
The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments Prime

The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments

The news this week that F1 has green-lit 'sprint qualifying' races that will determine the grid for three grands prix in 2021 was met with a blend of excitement and scepticism. But before those in both camps can be vilified, F1 must first work out what its criteria is for success - and what will justify making them a more permanent fixture

Formula 1
Apr 28, 2021