2020 Italian Grand Prix, Friday - LAT Images

Wolff: HPP was pushed to the limits in 2019, went into unhealthy territory

toto wolff, italian grand prix, mercedes

Toto Wolff has revealed that Mercedes High Performance Powertrains were “overstretched” last winter in a bid to make ground on Ferrari.

The Brixworth-based engine department of Mercedes produced the goods once again in 2020, delivering a dominant power-unit that led Lewis Hamilton to a record-equalling seventh world title.

However, this was borne out of a difficult 2019, where Ferrari appeared to have the edge and it was this deficit that drove HPP into “unhealthy territory” according to Wolff, in this report presented by Singapore Bookmakers for our readers.

A private agreement with the FIA saw Ferrari’s performance slip back last season though and with neither Honda nor Renault quite at the level of Mercedes, the team was largely unchallenged as they secured a seventh consecutive constructors’ championship.

Speaking about the commitment of the people at HPP, Wolff said it was “ironic” that so much effort was made only for their rivals to fall back.

“HPP has been pushed to the limits in 2019, trying to catch up to the benchmark power unit that was Ferrari,” he told Autosport.

“I would say at certain stages, overstretched into unhealthy territory with the support of MGP, where chassis related items to the power unit needed to be developed.

“I think we just pushed ourselves so hard that we made a big step over the winter and, in a certain way, it’s ironic that we got pushed so much by the ones that fell back in 2020.”

Former managing director of Mercedes HPP Andy Cowell left back in July 2020 and was replaced by Hywel Thomas.