Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Jerez, 2014

Mercedes expects “pleasant surprise” on reliability

2014 Australian Grand PrixPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Jerez, 2014Mercedes believe the first race of the season will not see as many retirements as first expected.

There were dire forecasts that few, if any cars might finish the first race of the season after some teams achieved little or no running in the first days of testing the new 2014 cars.

But Mercedes’ high performance powertrains director Andy Cowell said: “I think we will all be pleasantly surprised.”

“Formula One is full of very determined individuals. From the engineers to those manufacturing parts and the race team itself, everyone is hugely driven to succeed.

“The predictions going into winter testing were that it was going to be a complete disaster, with cars not even capable of lapping a circuit.

“When you look at the kilometres that have been achieved it is pretty impressive, so I think that concern has subsided.”

However he added Mercedes had only discovered some faults when they reached high mileages with their engines – something their rivals, particularly Renault, have managed little of.

“We saw some Power Unit related problems arise over the course of each test – especially over the last few days when pushing towards higher mileage – which topped up our job list,” said Cowell. “This was actually encouraging, as it proved that we have good correlation between our long runs both on the dyno and on track.”

He added the team will be conscious of not sacrificing reliability for performance: “We have to make sure all aspects of the system are set up in their sweet spot, but also that the sweet spot doesn’t aggravate a reliability issue.”

“Throughout the season we can only use five power units per driver, including the hybrid systems, or face severe grid penalties. The challenge now is to gather all the data we have from testing and conduct statistical analysis to ensure that we have a high probability of success at 19 grands prix.”

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