Mercedes engine engineers are “dying” to see how the engine performs in the new W13 of the 2022 Formula 1 season. Because the new generation of vehicles means that a lot is new for the engine department, even though the drives themselves are unlikely to have changed much.
But manufacturers have to adapt to the new driving characteristics of vehicles and also to the switch from E5 to E10 fuel. This means some tweaking is needed to deliver the right power output.
“The 2022 car is very, very different,” says Mercedes engine boss Hywel Thomas in a team video. “We know that the aerodynamics are different.”
“And from what we’ve been told and from all the work we’ve done with the team here at Brackley, we believe the car will do slightly different things and the demands on the driver in the corners will be different than in previous years,” he continues.
Engine team ready for adjustments
“We did simulations, we did all the calculations and we modified the engine and the way it drives so we’re ready.” He stresses that the engine department is definitely ready for changes if the driver steps on the gas a little differently or at a different time.
But for that you first have to see during the test drives how the car and the driver behave on the track: “Of course we are dying for the first test on the track to see whether the simulations are correct. Hopefully they will be .”
“If not, we will be ready to adjust the power unit as needed to ensure riders get exactly what they want, when they want it,” Thomas continued.
Installation on the test bench
The new regulations have also given Mercedes the chance to look again at the installation of the engine and to strive for improvements in the installation. Because there are also a few wishes for the chassis designers that one would like to fulfill as an engine partner.
“There are areas on the car that are very sensitive to lap times. And there are other areas that are less sensitive. We’re trying to make sure with the power unit that we stay as far away from the sensitive areas as possible in order to Giving car designers as much flexibility as possible and packing the power unit parts into areas that are less sensitive,” says Thomas.
“That means we have to work hand-in-hand with the chassis department and all the engineers to make sure the power unit sits exactly where it needs to sit, so we can put together the fastest overall package.”
2022 as a big challenge
Having the fastest engine has become even more important in 2022. Because from 2022 to 2025, the engines in Formula 1 will be frozen, so that performance will basically be cemented.
“And from the middle of the year, the performance of the electrical systems will also be frozen from a performance point of view. This means that we will not be able to make any performance improvements during the year. It will only be possible to improve reliability,” explains Thomas.
“So with the new fuel, the power unit performance freezing as the season progresses and the all new car, new aerodynamics and power unit adjustment in it, there is a big challenge for everyone involved and especially for the team by HPP (High Performance Powertrains, Mercedes engine department; editor’s note).”