Engines

Why Hamilton’s fresh Mercedes F1 engine was a game changer – Motorsport.com, Edition: Global

Summary

Fitting a replacement ICE didn’t come as much of a surprise, with Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, having already mounted a sixth one a few races before.

The behaviour is surprising when we consider Mercedes’ almost bulletproof reliability during the hybrid era though.

But, perhaps it should have been expected in a season where the FIA has set what seems to be an optimistic target of just three ICEs to cover the entire 23 race calendar.

And, even with the cale…….

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Fitting a replacement ICE didn’t come as much of a surprise, with Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, having already mounted a sixth one a few races before.

The behaviour is surprising when we consider Mercedes’ almost bulletproof reliability during the hybrid era though.

But, perhaps it should have been expected in a season where the FIA has set what seems to be an optimistic target of just three ICEs to cover the entire 23 race calendar.

And, even with the calendar having shrunk to 22 races, it’s only the Ferrari customer teams of Alfa Romeo and Haas that have been able to reach that objective.

The deployment of additional power unit components has become a strategic side hustle too, as the reduction from a ten-place grid drop to just five, after taking the first penalty, can make it worthwhile for the associated performance benefits.

This was clearly a considerable factor in Hamilton’s performance in Brazil, with the Mercedes power unit packing much more of a punch when it’s fresh.

This is especially true when compared with the Honda, whose power unit appears to have a much flatter degradation curve.

Furthermore, we have to consider that the power units are normally run with their performance compromised in order that they can perform for a given number of races.

This is something that Hamilton’s new ICE, as one element in that pool of parts, has a considerable advantage in.

It remains to be seen how long the performance advantage created by Hamilton’s new ICE holds, but we should consider that it is ordinarily designed with a seven to eight race schedule in mind, whereas now it only needs to complete just four races.

This shorter lifespan required at the end of the season opens up the possibility of pushing it harder and for longer than usual, albeit there will be an associated risk of over-stressing it and the other components in the pool.

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Source: https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/why-hamiltons-fresh-engine-was-a-game-changer/6794268/