Mercedes isn’t resting on its laurels and will introduce a brand new engine this season in a bid to keep its momentum flowing.
The Silver Arrows squad has been the class of the field since Formula 1 ushered in the era of the V6 hybrid power unit in 2015.
Last year, the German manufacturer conquered its fourth successive driver-constructor world title, an achievement which validated once again its outstanding expertise and engineering excellence.
Mercedes’ engine department in Brixworth has been responsible for designing and developing every single one of the team’s power units, and the team led by Andy Cowell will be pushing the boundaries once again in 2018.
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“We’ve got ideas to reduce the friction in pretty much every area of the power unit, or the losses in electrical systems,” Cowell told Motorsport.com.
“Every time you do an engine, every time you do a phase update you’ve always learned.
“So you freeze the concept, you do the work, you do the prove-out, you go racing and all the way along that journey it’s intensely frustrating because you’re learning but you cannot incorporate into that phase without corrupting the quality fundamentally.
“So it’s ensuring that we do have a learning culture that observes and learns and reflects and then remembers that so that then, when it’s time to put the next concept together, we’ve got a whole load of ideas and a lot of it is small, marginal gains on well-trodden areas.
“Some of it is big, fundamental bits of learning, combustion progress, friction reduction, new materials that unlock areas where we’ve been struggling with reliability. And sometimes it’s just a surprise.
Cowell’s words likely won’t be music to Mercedes’ rivals’ ears.
“There’s still gains to be had,” says the Mercedes engine boss.
“It’s a plethora of marginal gains, five millisecond gains. Then there’s those nice surprises where you thought north would give you 2kW and actually it’s south that gives you 2kW.
“It has just been about doing those great experiments and that’s where the test facility is important.
“You need to think about what it is you’re trying to measure but you need a very impressive dyno with incredible sensors and good test methodology to genuinely detect those gains and to pick them out from the noise of general testing.”
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