Mercedes "suffering with reliability" on F1 engines

Toto Wolff has warned Mercedes' ongoing Formula 1 engine issue is "not trivial" after seeing Valtteri Bottas and two customer teams take penalties for the United States Grand Prix.

Mercedes revealed on Friday in Austin that it had taken a third fresh engine for Bottas in four races, resigning the Finn to a five-place grid penalty.

Mercedes customers Williams and Aston Martin have also been forced to take fresh engines for George Russell and Sebastian Vettel this weekend. Both will start the race from the back of the grid.

It comes after Mercedes F1 boss Wolff revealed in Turkey that the manufacturer was working to understand a problem on its engines and contain the issue for the rest of the season, having seen Lewis Hamilton take a grid drop and start 11th. 

Wolff said in an interview with Sky Sports on Friday after FP1 at the Circuit of The Americas that Mercedes was dealing with "some reliability issues that keep coming back".

"I think we understand now much better what it is," Wolff said. "But it means that there is no durability in running them and that means that's potentially a DNF risk."

Speaking afterwards in Friday's FIA press conference, Wolff explained how Mercedes was working to understand the issue to also ensure its customer teams were not impacted.

"I think you see that we are suffering with reliability this year," said Wolff during Friday's FIA press conference in Austin.

"We're going onto the sixth engine, I believe it is for Valtteri, and it's not something that we choose to do.

"But on the contrary, we're trying to really get on top of the problems, and we haven't understood [them] fully.

"I think we are a step closer now, so it's not always that we are literally easy with having the engines.

"We are hanging on for dear life in supplying all customers, and that is not trivial."

Wolff called a suggestion in the Sky interview that the issue was with the air valves on the engine "bullshit", but shied away from expanding on the problem in the press conference "for obvious reasons".

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

He acknowledged that the issue was "always a concern" given the close title battles Mercedes finds itself in this year. Hamilton sits just six points behind Max Verstappen in the drivers' championship with six races to go this year.

"I think that when you look at Monza, for example, Valtteri had to start from the back, and we are losing points on the way," Wolff said.

"We are trying to push the performance every year, and this year, we've come to a point where that has cost us points. Over the last seven or eight years, that mindset has won us races and championships.

"So I would have hoped for a few less penalties and use less engines, but this year it has really hit us hard.

"McLaren and Aston Martin are more fortunate, and in that respect, we just have to take it on the chin and do the best possible job."

McLaren's Zak Brown said the team had no concerns over the reliability of its customer engines, saying Mercedes had been "pushing extremely hard".

"There's great competition, so when you're pushing, that's going to always challenge reliability," Brown said.

"But I've got to say from a McLaren point of view, we're very happy. They've got an unbelievable track record, so we're not concerned."

shares
comments
US GP: Bottas leads Hamilton, Verstappen in FP1
Previous article

US GP: Bottas leads Hamilton, Verstappen in FP1

Next article

Mercedes dismisses Red Bull "noise" on F1 straightline device

Mercedes dismisses Red Bull "noise" on F1 straightline device
Load comments
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022