Mercedes High Performance Powertrains boss Hywel Thomas has shed some light on the changes that were made to improve the reliability of their engine ahead of the 2021 Formula 1 season.
Speaking after the launch of their new car, the W12 E Performance, Thomas explained that some of the materials the team opted for last season were not as reliable as hoped and detailed the steps they have since taken to rectify the issue.
In addition to powering their own car, McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams will all use the Mercedes power-unit during the 2021 campaign.
“We’ve completed some work on improving the reliability of the PU,” Thomas said. “In 2020, we used an aluminium structure which wasn’t as reliable as intended, so we’ve introduced a new alloy for the engine block.
“We’ve also made some adjustments to the Energy Recovery System, to make it more resilient.
“We’ve got a big challenge in 2021 with 23 races on the calendar, we will need to ensure that the reliability of the power unit is spot on. We’ve worked hard on that area and hopefully it’s paid off.
“We introduced a complete redesign in 2020, a very different MGU-K to what we had run previously. It helped us make a solid step forward in performance, but it was a design that turned out to be difficult to manufacture and assemble consistently.
“We had lots of examples where the MGU-K ran a full cycle and did exactly what we wanted it to do, but we also had some cases of midlife failures,.
“For 2021, we’ve gone back, looked at that design and built an understanding of where the failures have come from. We have changed it for this year, to allow for a more consistent manufacturing route which should help to improve the reliability.”