Mercedes battling ‘issues’ ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s pursuit for another F1 world title

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Mercedes’ engine chief Hywel Thomas has revealed that they are battling “some issues” ahead of the upcoming Formula One season. Mercedes are looking to win their eighth consecutive F1 world title this year and recently agreed a new one-year deal with defending champion Lewis Hamilton.

However, Thomas has admitted that Mercedes are already facing some problems in a video released by the team.

He said: “In terms of readiness, we’ve got plenty of engines in build at the moment getting ready for the new season.

“We have already got some of them together and we have also got engines running on the dynos right now, doing their durability runs.

“We have got some issues with the power units. We know we have issues but we have plenty of plans in place to fix all of those issues. I’m sure it will all be ready for the first race.”

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Thomas also added: “The winter is always a challenging time for us, as we prepare for a new season, and this year there have been a few extra additional things thrown at us.

“It’s been the first winter where we’ve had to react to a change to the regulations, which limits the amount of dyno hours we’re able to run.

“This means we have to make every single dyno run count and must make sure that we are entirely productive, to learn about the performance and the reliability of the Power Unit during each hour.

“Also, it’s the first winter where we have prepared for only one single upgrade for the whole season.

“So, we have to get all of our performance into the first PU that goes to the first race, whereas in previous seasons we have been able to split that up into different packages for each PU that gets introduced.

“So, with that challenge, we have to get absolutely everything there for the first race and make sure it’s completely reliable. Also, there are more races this season and the same number of Power Units, which means that each individual Power Unit needs to run across more races.

“We just have to make sure that we are ready for that and focus even more on reliability. We also have the challenge of a pretty short winter, as we didn’t finish racing until the middle of December and now, we’re straight back into it.

“So, if anything, we’ve had more to do and less time to do it in.”

Mercedes’ technical director James Allison admitted last month that “aerodynamic changes” have been an “intense and difficult thing” to react to.

He said: “Probably the most intense and difficult thing for us is reacting to the aerodynamic changes that come for 2021. There was a concern that if we left the aerodynamic development of these cars unchecked then the performance would just keep increasing as it has been doing it for a number of seasons now. 

“It would keep increasing to a level where the cars would just simply outgrow the tyres and perhaps even aspects of the circuits. 

“So, there was a good need to bring the performance down a bit from the cars so that they would be able to go into the new season if 2021 with the mechanical packages designed for 2020, remember, and be confident that the performance of the car would be matched to the physical infrastructure that the car was built around.”

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