Ri­val teams fear huge Mercedes power boost

Non-Merc teams pushed for the in-sea­son en­gine freeze to be lifted, but now worry it will let Mercedes get even fur­ther ahead

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Mercedes’ ri­vals have dis­closed their grow­ing con­cern that they may be un­able to close the gap to the world cham­pi­ons for 2015. The 2014 Mercedes F1 W05 Hy­brid owed its suc­cess to the re­mark­able in­te­gra­tion of the best of the new breed of turbo hy­brid V6 en­gines with a chas­sis that was at least as good as the best pro­duced by any other team.

But their ri­vals’ main con­cerns fo­cus on the progress Mercedes may make with their power unit. Mercedes’ en­gine is al­ready at least 40bhp more pow­er­ful and fuel ef­fi­cient than ri­val units from Re­nault and Fer­rari, and sources say Mercedes have found at least another 50bhp on their 2015 en­gine pack­age.

And even with the re­cently won free­dom to de­velop en­gines dur­ing the sea­son rather than only over the win­ter, ri­vals are con­cerned the gap to Mercedes is now too big to close.

As one se­nior gure put it: “If Mercedes bolt on another 60bhp, we’re fucked. We might nd that amount over the win­ter, but we’re not go­ing to nd 120bhp, that’s for sure.”

McLaren have been qui­etly op­ti­mistic that their new Honda en­gine might be able to com­pete with the Mercedes, but that was be­fore they re­alised Mercedes could po­ten­tially take such a sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward.

In­sid­ers say the Honda power unit – which has yet to run for more than few laps – is almost as pow­er­ful as the 2014 Mercedes en­gine. But that still leaves them 50bhp down on the 2015 Mercedes at a time when McLaren have a ma­jor chas­sis deficit to make up.

Part of the prob­lem faced by Re­nault and Fer­rari is that they have run out of time to pro­duce the full-on re­design they had wanted to have ready for 2015. Both com­pa­nies were de­sign­ing their own ver­sion of the Mercedes en­gine, the key fea­ture of which is the sep­a­ra­tion of the com­pres­sor from the turbo and its re­lo­ca­tion at the front of the en­gine.

The ad­van­tages of this in­clude: less in­her­ent turbo lag, re­duced cool­ing re­quire­ments for the in­let air, less pack­ag­ing, and im­proved aero­dy­nam­ics and weight dis­tri­bu­tion.

Honda have de­signed their en­gine this way, but Re­nault and Fer­rari need un­til at least April , which is why they were ag­i­tat­ing for a re­lax­ation of the in-sea­son en­gine freeze.

Mercedes’ en­gine was dom­i­nant in 2014, and they’re thought to have found another 50bhp over the win­ter, with more power on its way

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