Mercedes High Performance Powertrains (HPP) are completing preparations for the start of the 2021 season, and Hywel Thomas, the new managing director of the engine division of the champion team, spoke about how this work is progressing..
Question: Is everything going according to plan? Are you meeting your propulsion test schedule?
Havel Thomas: If we talk about our readiness, we are working on a variety of engines, some of them are fully assembled, some are undergoing bench tests where their reliability is checked, some have already been sent to our customers, where they are either already installed on the chassis, and their trial the launch has already taken place, or the teams are preparing for it.
We have to overcome a number of difficulties, we know about the problems, but we plan to eliminate them, and I have no doubt that we will be ready for the first race.
Q: What can you say about the atmosphere at the base in Brixworth, what are the moods of everyone before the start of the season?
Havel Thomas: Now is an interesting period, although we have a lot to do. Soon we will see the results of our work, we will see how efficient and reliable our engines have been made. However, of course, we do not know what our rivals have achieved, so, on the one hand, this is a joyful time, on the other, we are still nervous – did we work well enough?
Q: What difficulties did you have to face in the offseason?
Havel Thomas: The winter period, when we are preparing for the new season, is always a difficult time, but this year we have more worries, because for the first time we had to react to changes in the technical regulations, in accordance with which the time of bench tests that we have at our disposal is limited.
This means that we must make the most of every hour of this time in order to find answers to all questions related to the efficiency and reliability of the power plant. In addition, for the first time, we have to prepare for the fact that we will only be able to upgrade engines once during the entire season.
Therefore, the very first power plant, prepared for the first race of the season, should be as efficient as possible, whereas in previous years we planned to introduce various new products throughout the season. This also complicates our task, so we should have everything ready by the very beginning of the season.
In addition, there were more races in the championship calendar, although the number of power plants remained the same. Therefore, each must endure more races. We must prepare for this and ensure the reliable operation of our engines.
The off-season period this year was quite short, because the races were held until mid-December and will resume very soon. In general, there are many tasks, and the time to solve them is somewhat less than before.
Q: How did you cope with the increased volume of work associated with the fact that from this year HPP will supply engines to the fourth team?
Havel Thomas: We are, of course, delighted that McLaren is switching to Brixworth-built power plants this year. While we will be producing and bringing more engines to the race, the most important thing for us is to continue upgrading them to make them even more efficient and reliable. Therefore, we have developed a special plan, the implementation of which will allow us to produce 25% more motors, but the increase in production volumes will not affect their quality.
Q: How are preparations going for 2022 and the transition to E10 fuel, the use of which is less harmful to the environment?
Havel Thomas: One of the most significant changes foreseen by the 2022 regulation is the transition to a new fuel that includes ethanol. This is not an easy task for both engine builders and fuel manufacturers, but we are ready to solve it.
In addition, in preparation for 2021, we figured out how the restrictions on bench testing and the fact that during the season it is allowed to upgrade the power plant only once, affect our work.
Therefore, we are making small adjustments to the way we work to make the most of the opportunities at our disposal.
Source: Формула 1 на F1News.ru by www.f1news.ru.
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