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Mercedes “losing a little bit” with engine derating issue at Bahrain GP

Mercedes has revealed that its deficit to Red Bull at the Bahrain Grand Prix is not being helped by engine derating issues around the Sakhir track.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

While the team is well aware that its chassis is not performing as it would like against its main Formula 1 rival, it is also facing headaches in getting on top of its energy recovery systems for the season opener.

Team boss Toto Wolff reckoned that Mercedes was losing out to Honda in terms of its derating – which is when the engine boost that comes from its energy recovery systems runs out at the end of the straights.

Speaking about where Mercedes was losing time to Red Bull, Wolff said: “I think we're losing on the high speed [corners]. We can clearly see there's a deficit.

“We're losing a little bit on the engine side in terms of derate. We are not yet in a happy place with our energy recovery, but it's not one thing we point to where we can say this is the big gap.”

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG, and James Allison, Technical Director, Mercedes AMG

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG, and James Allison, Technical Director, Mercedes AMG

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

The strong form of both Red Bull and AlphaTauri in Bahrain this weekend indicates that its engine supplier Honda has made good gains with its new 2021 power unit.

Wolff said he was confident, however, that Mercedes would get on top of its power unit issues.

“Honda has done a great job,” he said. “They delivered the power unit which is extremely competitive. Look at where AlphaTauri is. And we just have to take it as sportsmen.

“You just have to say when they've done a really good job, full stop. There's just no one-off solution then to recover. And I believe that on the derates that you see, it is something that we have to get on top of. That is not easy, but we'll get there.”

Asked if was surprised that Honda had put such an effort in to a new engine for its final season in F1, Wolff said: “Am I surprised? No I'm actually not at all surprised.

“I think Honda is a very proud company and I was convinced that they would give all the power to have a great power unit in the final year as a works team.

“I think they left no stone unturned, and no resource unutilised to finish the job properly. So it's good motivation for us and I'm happy for them.”

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