McLaren CEO Zak Brown says Mercedes’ progress in terms of their Power Unit’s reliability has put both teams at ease ahead of the new season.
Mercedes and Red Bull went toe to toe for both Championships throughout the course of 2021 season. Towards the end, the former suffered some nervy moments in terms of engine reliability. Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas had to use six Internal Combustion Engines that year, compared to Lewis Hamilton’s five.
This was a problem for the German team because a driver can only change engine components three times in a season. Additional changes result in grid penalties, which can have a major effect on the team’s fighting chances on that weekend.
Read Zak’s views ahead of a pivotal year for McLaren Racing. 👇
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Mercedes also supplies engines to McLaren, Williams and Aston Martin. All three teams had to install an extra Power Unit towards the end of the season, which led to them taking grid penalties.
Ahead of the engine freeze in 2022, all of Mercedes’ customer teams are hoping for the Brackley based outfit to solve their reliability issues. McLaren’s Zak Brown feels that they have done so.
“They’re feeling good about their development,” said Brown. “We fortunately had good reliability last year. As you know, there’s more than just the power unit that goes into the reliability.”
Toto Wolff assured them about Mercedes’ improved reliability, says the McLaren boss
Zak Brown went on to say that he spoke to Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff about the engine issues ahead of the freeze. The Austrian assured the McLaren boss that his team has worked on it over the winter break.
Brown himself is also confident that his engineers in Surrey can work on it to ensure that there aren’t any additional problems over the course of the season.
“I think our guys did a good job of working with the power unit in year one. So reliability hasn’t been maybe the same level of concern with us that it has with others,” he continued.
“I spoke with Toto last week about it. And he was pretty bullish. “I think the power unit race is as close as ever, but I’m not worried about it.”
“We were pushed very hard in 2019, and came with a power unit in 2020 that was right there, but maybe it stretched us too much,” explained Wolff towards the end of last season. If you are in the constant pursuit of performance, sometimes reliability falls behind. And I guess this is what happened.”