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Mercedes ‘bullish’ on engine reliability progress, says McLaren

Mercedes is ‘bullish’ it has got on top of the Formula 1 engine reliability problems that proved such a headache at the end of last season, says customer team McLaren.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

The German car manufacturer was locked in a tight title battle with Red Bull throughout 2021, but had to endure a run of grid penalties in the closing stages of the campaign amid concerns about the durability of its power units.

The rules limited teams to a total of three major power unit components for the entire season, but both Mercedes drivers had to take a number of new parts.

Valtteri Bottas used a total of six internal combustion engines during the season, the most of any driver, while Lewis Hamilton got through five.

Mercedes customer teams McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams also had to run a fourth power unit in the second half of the year.

With F1 set to enter an engine freeze from the start of this year, there was some urgency on Mercedes to get its issues solved immediately so it did not lock in any problems.

But, with a few weeks still to go before the new power units run on track for the first time in pre-season testing, McLaren has offered some encouragement about the state of progress.

Asked by Motorsport.com about any feedback McLaren had had from Mercedes on engines, CEO Zak Brown said the signs were encouraging.

“They're feeling good about their development,” explained Brown. “We fortunately had good reliability last year. As you know, there's more than just the power unit that goes into the reliability.

"I think our guys did a good job of working with the power unit in year one, so reliability hasn't been maybe the same level of concern with us that it has with others.

“I spoke with Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team boss] last week about it. And he was pretty bullish.

“I think the power unit race is as close as ever, but I'm not worried about it.”

Speaking last year, Wolff explained that Mercedes’ engine headaches in 2021 were a consequence of the way it had to go super-aggressive with development to catch up with Ferrari’s power gains in 2019.

“We were pushed very hard in 2019, and came with a power unit in 2020 that was right there, but maybe it stretched us too much,” explained Wolff towards the end of last season.

“If you are in the constant pursuit of performance, sometimes reliability falls behind. And I guess this is what happened.”

Read Also:
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Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, is returned to the garage

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

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