Mercedes: No performance limit for turbo-hybrid F1 engines to reach

Mercedes' engine chief Andy Cowell believes there is no performance limit for it to reach despite its advantage in this set of regulations being eroded

Mercedes: No performance limit for turbo-hybrid F1 engines to reach

F1's V6 turbo-hybrid era is now in its fifth season, with Mercedes winning all eight drivers' and constructors' titles over the first four years.

Ferrari gave Mercedes the closest fight of that spell last season and has made further gains this year, ending Mercedes' qualifying dominance by claiming three of the five poles on offer.

Cowell, Mercedes' High Performance Powertrains boss, believes Ferrari has an edge in qualifying but falls behind in race trim, and said Renault and Honda are also "very close behind".

Asked if manufacturers were now getting to the limit of the current regulations, Cowell replied: "I think that comes down to your belief and understanding of whether there is a limit.

"I personally don't believe there is a limit. I think you can always find gains.

"Every week I have the pleasure to sit in our performance and innovation meeting and listen to bright engineers come up with ways of getting a little bit more efficiency out of the various systems and then enjoying the competition in the factory to turn those ideas in proven experiments, and then prove that they are reliable enough.

"So, for all four [engine manufacturers], we will continue to develop and there is no such thing as a limit."

Mattia Binotto, Ferrari's technical director, has been in charge of the Scuderia's programme since it started to catch Mercedes.

He said: "I would agree with Andy, no doubt. When you put engineers together, there will be always innovations, creativity.

"For an engineer there are never limits. I think we have seen in the last years, in the last season, how much we improved, year after year.

"I don't think we have shown so far that we have reached the limit of the product."

Engine manufacturers are allowed to make a limited number of penalty-free changes over the course of the season, and unless they are reliability- or damage-induced these opportunities are used to introduce upgraded parts.

This means each package may not necessarily reach full performance before a new upgraded component arrives.

As an example, Renault's engine technical director Remi Taffin said its first specification of 2018 engine is still not being used to its full potential, even though the next iteration should be introduced for next month's Canadian Grand Prix.

"It's always difficult to say you've got the most out of it," he said.

"If you kept the same specification for the year you will always be trying to get a little bit more.

"It's more a matter of how you spend your resources.

"We've got spec one, we develop it for a cycle, then [move to] spec two, then spec three."

shares
comments
F1's 2019 changes haven't done teams' research 'justice' - Renault

Previous article

F1's 2019 changes haven't done teams' research 'justice' - Renault

Next article

How Schumacher's Ferrari empire fell apart

How Schumacher's Ferrari empire fell apart
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Mercedes
Author Scott Mitchell
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is no guarantee

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return Plus

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
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

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
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