The ‘Party mode’ has been a massive point of discussion ever since qualifying in Australia, where after putting in a record lap, Hamilton brought about the ‘party mode’ term, an engine mode that was designed to give Mercedes an edge in qualifying.
All of the ‘party mode’ talk seem to have subsided after Hamilton’s ‘I wanted to wipe the smile off your face’ remark, but an assumption was made a tad too early.
Mercedes’ ‘party mode’ has dominated headlines ever since, despite Toto Wolff confirming that the car had no ‘party mode’.
In a briefing ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Mercedes has provided an update about all its engine modes and how it uses it during different stages of a race weekend.
Mercedes basically uses three engine modes for the entire weekend; one for the majority of the free practice sessions, one for the majority of qualifying and one for the majority of the race.
“All three can be altered with various sub-settings for different situations, which control whether electrical energy is being net deployed over a lap, recovered or used in a balanced manner (with energy deployment and recovery balancing each other out).
“Both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas switched their race mode to lower performance during the Australian GP when they were stuck in traffic and the turbulent air of the cars ahead, in order to cool the engines and prevent them from overheating,” it added. “A Safety Car presents a similar challenge – drivers want to conserve energy and the power unit, so the engine mode is set to reduce the duty and cool the hardware.” Mercedes said.
Mercedes then further went onto explain how the various power modes are managed and how the information is shared with its customers.
“The available mileage is dictated by what is termed the ‘phase document’, which defines the limits to which the power unit may be used during each race weekend, and which is the same for the works cars and the Mercedes customer teams.
“PU modes are defined when the first set of hardware is tested in Brixworth and the mileage limit is determined by the success of the long-run programme. Some of these are circuit-specific, others are more general. Making the call on which mode to use can either be the driver’s decision, or through the advice of the engineering team – who will communicate over the radio which settings to adjust and which mode to switch to.” Mercedes said.
“The ICE performance is changed, for example, by varying the amount of fuel that is injected into the combustion chamber or by changing the timing of the ignition. For the hybrid side of the power unit, the modes will alter the interaction and scheduling of the electrical energy for both deployment of the 120kW (maximum) MGU-K and recovery of both the MGU-K and MGU-H.” they concluded.