Mercedes confident in W15 reliability despite Hamilton engine issue

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Mercedes is still searching for the reason behind Lewis Hamilton’s engine failure in the Australian GP, but the Brackley squad heads to Japan this week with no concerns over its car’s reliability.

In Melbourne, Hamilton was forced to pull off just 17 laps into the race due to a power unit issue. Unfortunately, the Briton’s misfortune was compounded by teammate George Russell's late crash.

The double DNF marked the first time Mercedes has failed to finish a race with both cars since the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix.

So far, the cause of Hamilton's engine failure remains a mystery. In Mercedes’ post-race debrief video published on YouTube, technical director James Allison admitted they're currently flying blind.

However, the failed unit had yet to find its way back to Mercedes’ engine department in Brixworth for a proper analysis.

“All we know is the symptoms at the time, which was a rapid loss of oil pressure followed by a shutdown of the engine to protect it,” Allison said.

“When you know you’ve got catastrophic loss like that, the best thing you can do for the future is kill it there and then, and then you have not got like a load of molten metal.


“You have normally got a fairly clear evidence chain of what caused it and then that lets you work better for the future. So, we do not know yet, [but] Brixworth and HPP [Mercedes High Performance Powertrains] will do in short order.

“No doubt as soon as we know then they will jump to it with their characteristic energy to make sure that any risk that happens on any other engine is mitigated as best we can.”

Despite the setback, Mercedes is keeping its focus on improving the performance of its W15 contender, while its reliability worries are kept at a minimum.

“DNFs are thankfully a rare thing for us,” commented Allison. “We have drivers who are particularly good at keeping it on the island and our reliability overall is a strong point.

“It is unusual to have a double DNF like that. It is certainly not something we expect to punctuate our season. What we are more focused on is the pace because if you get the pace sorted out the season will be okay whatever happens.

“The baseline reliability of the car, our procedural approach to it and the skill of our drivers will tend to keep you clear of DNFs. All our focus is on the pace knowing that those other foundations are in decent shape.”

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