There Mercedes dominated the turbo-hybrid era that began in 2014 by collecting 15 of the 16 titles up for grabs. The en-plein, however, escaped due to the 2021 drivers title ‘blown’ to Lewis Hamilton by Max Verstappen. The Dutch driver had a world title car for the first time – the Red Bull RB16-B – and thanks to a bit of luck in the Abu Dhabi grand final he managed to dethrone the seven-time world champion. Adrian Newey understood the defects of the RB16 during 2020 and made the necessary corrections on the new single-seater which benefited from the regulatory changes in the rear area of the cars which penalized the projects conceived according to a ‘low rake’ philosophy such as the Mercedes a unlike the Red Bull, a ‘high-rake’ single-seater definitely ‘swooped’ towards the front.
In addition to the measures implemented during the design phase, the breakthrough at the level of power unit achieved by Honda, which in light of the disengagement – at least as regards the official ‘appearance’ – expected at the end of 2021, substantially introduced last season the RA621H which should have made its debut in 2022, completing the operates by introducing a smaller battery after the summer break without this entailing a decrease in guaranteed performance with obvious advantages in weight distribution. As Helmut Marko pointed out, the performance achieved by the Honda power unit has ‘forced’ Mercedes to squeeze the power units built in Brixworth that were previously more performing than the competition, even if used. “At cruising speed”.
Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton had to serve different penalty positions on the starting grid as a result of the introduction of new components beyond those permitted by the regulation, in particular as regards endothermic engines, which are thoroughly squeezed with the associated risks of ko in terms of reliability. The races ‘comeback’ then proved decisive for the assignment of the world title because although Hamilton won in Brazil in Turkey, important points were ‘lost’. In Brackley, therefore, in view of 2022, work has been done on the engine to return to having supremacy from this point of view also in light of the now imminent freezing of the power units which will start in 2022 and will last until 2025 inclusive (in 2026, then, a new regulatory cycle will debut as regards engines aimed at attracting the entry of new manufacturers, with Audi and Porsche at the forefront).
As reported by the Japanese newspaper as-web.jp the reliability problems have been addressed by working on the internal combustion engine (ICE) while the big news from the point of view of the search for greater performance will reside in a new larger turbo-compressor, a solution which Mercedes arrived at after a compromise between engineers and frame builders. The increase in performance linked to the new turbo-supercharger will ensure a positive balance with respect to the overall dimensions it will require in the assembly of the W13 and the loss of aerodynamic efficiency (drag). The goal is precisely to return to being the reference point in what from 2014 onwards was the strength par excellence of Mercedes, the power unit. James Allison stressed that 2022 is an opportunity for Mercedes to disprove the criticism that Brackley’s team has enjoyed years of domination resulting from an early departure from the competition in the design of the power units that have marked the era. turbo-hybrid. The new technical regulation was defined by the former Ferrari technical director “A minefield” in which some team risks making a mistake and not just by the 2022 project. Mercedes obviously does not want to be among them.
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