Mercedes says it has addressed its MGU-K for the upcoming Formula 1 campaign after a spate of reliability concerns through last season.
Pre-season testing last year left question marks over Mercedes’ reliability ahead of the campaign, after it hit a handful of complications during the six days of running.
The team introduced upgrades to the Power Unit throughout the year, however its MGU-K unit, which had been completely redesigned for 2020, continued to spark agitation.
At the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Mercedes was forced to turn down its engines due to an MGU-K “gremlin”, which prevented Racing Point’s Sergio Perez from taking a likely podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
After working on the matter throughout the winter break, Mercedes is confident that it has rectified its reliability woes.
“We introduced a complete redesign in 2020, a very different MGU-K to what we had run previously,” said Hywel Thomas, Managing Director of Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains.
“It helped us make a solid step forwards 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 of the MGU-K.”
As well as being assured over the MGU-K fix, Mercedes is also confident that its Power Unit has taken a step forward in terms of performance.
“Stable regulations mean that it’s getting increasingly challenging to unlock additional performance, so you need a focused approach,” Thomas added.
“We’ve continued the development of the technology in the Power Unit. That’s a continuous process, and we feel like we’ve been able to take a step forward on that front again this year.
“We’ve also got some completely new innovations that will be in the racing PU for the first time.
“That was particularly challenging because last season finished late, so the winter period has been shorter than normal and has given us less time to prepare, which put extra strain on the business.”