McLaren unconcerned by 2022 Mercedes engine reliability

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) McLaren MCL35M. 11.12.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina
© XPB 

The McLaren team insists that it has no worries about the reliability of the power units they are to receive from Mercedes this year, despite mounting issues with engines at the end of last season.

The usually bullet-proof Mercedes units struggled to reach the end of 2021 within quota because of durability issues.

Customer teams McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams all went one over the permitted allocation of four, while works driver Valtteri Bottas ended up using six different internal combustion engines by the season finale.

For the first time in the modern hybrid era, Mercedes came off looking second best in terms of both reliability and performance. But McLaren CEO Zak Brown said he was confident that the German manufacturer would bounce right back in time for the new campaign.

“They're feeling good about their development,” he told earlier this month.

"We fortunately had good reliability last year," he continued. "As you know, there's more than just the power unit that goes into the reliability.

"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 for us that it has with others."

Brown said that he had been in contact with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff about the outlook for 2022.

"He was pretty bullish," Brown reported. “I think the power unit race is as close as ever. But I'm not worried about it.”

Wolff had previously explained that Mercedes' reliability issues in he latter half of 2021 were due to the way that his team had been forced to respond as hard and fast as possible to the threat of Red Bull and Honda.

Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director with Zak Brown (USA) McLaren Executive Director in the FIA Press Conference. 14.08.2020 Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 6, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona

“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," Wolff admitted in an interview late last year.

“If you are in the constant pursuit of performance, sometimes reliability falls behind and I guess this is what happened.”

Getting things right on the engine front is an imperative, woith an engine freeze coming into effect from the start of the season meaning there will be no chance for do-overs.

Mercedes returned to the Mercedes stable at the start of last season, after brief partnerships with Honda and Renault.

Although Honda has now ended its involvement in Formula 1, Red Bull and AlphaTauri have been permitted to use the legacy technology until the next big rule change in 2025.

Red Bull has set up a new in-house unit to manage the ongoing maintenance and development of their power units, and have been recruiting top talent from other manufacturers to support the new programme.

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