George Russell suffered his first set back of this years Formula One campaign last time out in Australia. His Mercedes V6 power unit gave out early as British driver was battling for the net lead of the race.
“Mercedes has found the cause of the engine damage,” reports AMuS.
Mercedes second failure of the season
“A piece of debris in the cylinder caused a fire and the technicians have declared the six-cylinder unit unsalvageable.”
The failure of this Mercedes’ power unit is now the second of the year as customer team McLaren saw Lando Norris suffer repeated hydraulic pressure issues during the season opener in Bahrain.
Honda have experienced half the problems of Mercedes with only the power unit on Nyck de Vries being replaced to date amongst the Red Bull runners.
Ferrari failure rate 6x Red Bull
It is Ferrari where the cause for concern is highest despite the team claiming they had solved the reliability problems from last year.
Outgoing team boss Mattia Binotto revealed that in the latter stages of the season that Ferrari-powered teams were forced to “lower the power” of their engines to mitigate the chances of failures.
Ferrari engine boss Enrico Gualtieri revealed at the launch of this year’s car, “reliability was our Achilles heel last season.”
Honda steal mercedes’ customer team
Maranello winter focus on reliability
“And so we worked over the winter to solve our main problems to try and reach the desired level of reliability. That was our aim for 2023.
And our work this winter was based on this.”
With so much of the Ferrari focus during the winter directed at improving reliability its surprising that the Ferrari powered teams once again head the list of failures after just three races.
Each Ferrari powered car just one engine remains
Both cars from the Haas and Alfa Romeo teams are already on their second power unit as are the Ferrari team drivers of Sainz and LeClerc.
With 20 races to go, each Ferrari powered car has just one remaining power unit to fit before grid drop penalties will be awarded.
Mercedes will however refuse to be complacent and are still investigating the reason for th damage to Russell’s power unit.
Mercedes’ damage report
The German publication reveals, “a foreign part got mixed up in the combustion process, which ultimately led to a drop in performance and the associated failure.
“A fragment was responsible for this. The engine ingested the debris in a cylinder, forcing the failure.”
The following information from the Mercedes’ report is somewhat disturbing for Hamilton and Russell because, “the debris comes from a component that is not part of the sealed area of the engine.”
More investigation required at Brixton
Until the team can identify the component and understand how it ingresses into the sealed part of the power unit, the likelihood of a repeat cannot be ruled out.
Russell requires new ICE, Turbo Charge, MGU-H and MGU-K components but the team are evaluating whether the battery store and the control electronics can be saved.
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— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) April 19, 2023
Piece of “debris” indeed.
Marty Smith told me he lost an important race when his CR500 Honda fouled the spark plug (officialreport). He then mentioned the crankshaft connecting rod had failed and the piston had hit the plug.
Debris in cylinder caused fire in MB engine what a lot of BS. Temps for burning the fuel is around 240degrees Celsius, blown straight the turbo and out the exhaust, anything in the way can catch fire. Nothing true about this just straight lies from the mechanics at MB!!!!