Mercedes explains its F1 engine power mode deployment system

Mercedes has explained how its Formula 1 engine's different power modes work after it "proved a particularly hot topic" during the Australian Grand Prix weekend

Mercedes explains its F1 engine power mode deployment system

Lewis Hamilton joked before the start of the season that the Mercedes engine's qualifying specification "should be the party mode", which triggered plenty of debate in Melbourne.

Ferrari and Red Bull were close to Mercedes' pace in the first two phases of qualifying in Australia before Hamilton went on to take pole by more than six tenths of a second.

Hamilton denied that was down to a special mode for the final part of qualifying, insisting it was the same as in Q2, though Mercedes' history of making a significant step from Q2 to Q3 led some to suggest this was untrue.

Mercedes has now explained that it will use one mode for the majority of each part of the grand prix weekend: the three practice sessions, qualifying and the race.

However, the use of its most powerful mode "varies according to the competitive context" and thus "sometimes this qualifying mode will be used throughout qualifying, sometimes only in Q3".

A contemporary F1 engine comprises the internal combustion engine (ICE), turbo, MGU-K and MGU-H, control electronics and energy store.

The different components can be instructed to interact differently, for example improving ICE performance by injecting more fuel into the combustion chamber or by changing the timing of the ignition, or by altering how its MGU-K and MGU-H can recover and deploy electrical energy.

Mercedes' three basic power modes have different supplementary settings that impact how the MGU-K and MGU-H recover or deploy energy, with Mercedes highlighting the race start as an opportunity for "full deployment".

Conservation is the priority in practice and parts of the race, and Mercedes uses a "recovery energy management mode" during the grand prix as it balances "ballsy on-track passing and tactical strategy".

Both drivers suffered from overheating during the Australian GP, and Mercedes explained that turning down the performance of their race modes helped manage this situation - the same tactic it employs during a safety car period "to reduce the duty and cool the hardware".

Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas are afforded reduced mileage allocations of the higher power modes to protect the engines, as restrictions have tightened for 2018 and each driver must not use more than three engines over the course of the season.

This mileage is dictated by what Mercedes called the "phase document", which defines the limits to which the engines in its works cars, and customer teams Williams and Force India, may be used during each race weekend.

According to Mercedes, the fourth round of the season in Azerbaijan is the first "power-sensitive" circuit: a track considered to be "dominated by long straights and acceleration zones".

Mercedes said "it will be interesting to see how the storyline around engine modes develops as the season progresses, particularly when F1 reaches those more power-sensitive venues".

shares
comments
Williams: Renault turnaround since team's return to F1 'phenomenal'

Previous article

Williams: Renault turnaround since team's return to F1 'phenomenal'

Next article

McLaren calls for 'enough restriction' to close F1 field up in 2021

McLaren calls for 'enough restriction' to close F1 field up in 2021
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Mercedes
Author Scott Mitchell
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb Plus

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen’s emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber team-mate’s own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here’s how Nick Heidfeld’s career was chilled by the Iceman

Formula 1
Apr 1, 2021