Bottas back to old-spec Mercedes F1 engine in Austrian GP practice

Mercedes faced fresh drama with its latest specification engine in Austrian Grand Prix Friday practice when Valtteri Bottas was forced to switch back to an old power unit

Bottas back to old-spec Mercedes F1 engine in Austrian GP practice

An oil leak was discovered on the Phase 2 engine fitted to Bottas's car shortly before the opening practice session at the Red Bull Ring got under way - forcing Mercedes to begin work on a swift engine change.

However, after completing its investigation of the problem Mercedes put the new-spec engine back in Bottas's car ahead of FP2.

Bottas's problem is the latest in a run of niggling issues that have emerged with the Phase 2 engine ever since it was introduced for the first time at the Canadian GP earlier this month.

In Montreal, Lewis Hamilton had a nervous build up to the race when Mercedes discovered an hydraulic leak that needed fixing in the hours before the start of the grand prix.

That was the same weekend that Lance Stroll suffered a fiery failure of the Phase 2 engine in his Racing Point during practice, which was eventually traced back to a spark plug problem.

Last week in France, Hamilton's mechanics had to work hard to fix a sensor problem that was discovered before qualifying, while the control electronics and energy store in George Russell's Williams were also changed ahead of qualifying.

Speaking ahead of this weekend, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff made clear his team had to get on top of the problems with the engine before it hit trouble in an actual race.

"This year, our race finishing record has been good, but it would be complacent to ignore the fact that for two weekends in a row now, our mechanics had to perform the equivalent of open-heart surgery on our cars," he said.

"We've faced a number of different issues on different components, each of which could have easily caused us to retire, so we need to get on top of those challenges as quickly as possible."

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