Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Mercedes still have question marks over reliability – Wolff

2018 Australian Grand Prix

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Mercedes’ head of motorsport Toto Wolff says the team isn’t taking the reliability of its new car for granted ahead of the first race of the year because not all parts have been tested to their full life.

This year each F1 driver may only use three complete power units without taking a penalty. Entire units therefore have to last seven races. Drivers are only permitted two examples of some parts, including the MGU-K, which will therefore have to complete up to 11 races without being changed.

With only eight days of pre-season testing scheduled, and with some of the running disrupted by poor weather, teams haven’t been able to prove the longevity of hardware.

“The reduction in the number of power unit components means that reliability will again play an important role in 2018,” said Wolff.

“Our reliability in testing looked good but we need to be careful to draw any conclusions from that – despite getting some good mileage with the new car in Barcelona, many of its components have not even come close to the life they need to complete during the season.”

Wolff added he hopes to see a three-way fight between the top F1 teams in 2018.

“Last year, the competition was very close and there was no moment where we could afford to relax,” he said. “Ferrari put up a very tough fight and we had a proper battle between silver and red. This year promises to bring an exciting three-way fight between us, Ferrari and Red Bull.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 32 comments on “Mercedes still have question marks over reliability – Wolff”

    1. Isn’t that the case for all engine manufactuters though?

      1. Yes indeed it is. He didn’t say it’s not.

    2. With questionable reliability for Renault PU, RBR is going to play spoilsport in title fight.

    3. The thing is, reliability headaches for Mercedes mean that they are not sure if they will use a 4th engine. For the other though, it means they are not sure how they will do one more race this season while they haven’t managed to do 20 with 4 engines

      1. ^This @johnmilk

        This is just Toto up to his usual “let’s play ourselves down” pre-race talk.

        1. Yep. Not to mention the Seb, Lewis might take your place in Ferrari talk…

          1. where did that come from?

            1. “But I think he has at least one more contract in him after this next one and Ferrari remains an attraction for every driver.” Toto…

            2. where did that come from, as in, what is this article has to do it that

            3. Ah, mind games… No more no less.

        2. Yeah. It gets right on my wick.

      2. My guess is by the time Mercedes need to use a fourth engine they’ll have almost won the Constructor’s Championship, which is really part of their aim. The reliability of their engine has been excellent up to now, so there’s no reason to suspect it won’t be similar this year. If Ferrari aren’t able to preserve their engines as well then they’ll be taking penalities before Mercedes do.

    4. Mercedes’ head of motorsport Toto Wolff says the team isn’t taking the reliability of its new car for granted ahead of the first race of the year because not all parts have been tested to their full life.

      Of course not no team would. But to suggest that the Mercs may have a reliability issue is laughable. Wolff must have gone the the Ecclestone school of media manipulation.

      1. JohnH (@johnrkh)
        No matter how much testing is done, and only 8 days of those are available, all power unit suppliers are going to sweating a bit for the 1st race. Yes, the Mercedes power unit is the most reliable on the grid, if most of it is completely new, as they suggest, failure is still a possibility. Or are we saying it can’t happen?

    5. What do you mean ‘still’? That implies you had problems last season and in testing, which you didn’t. Mercedes yet again downplaying their car, ready to come out with a 1:12 in Australia, 10 seconds quicker than last year…

      1. Exactly. I’m expecting 2014-16 levels of domination to return.

    6. Pretty much stock Toto speak.
      However this year I’m sure that they like every other team will be watching closely and making decisions as to when it will be advantageous to take a grid drop to add a new PU component.

      be really interesting if (say) Mercedes, Ferrari and RBR all have an engine failure in Melbourne – Imagine having to finish the season with 2 left. That might give some other teams a chance.

    7. In fairness to TW, I think if any of us put ourselves in his shoes, we’d be saying similar things. What I mean by that is that it would seem even when he sounds diplomatic he gets criticized, so imagine if he was saying cocky things like ‘we will dominate,’ ‘we will win every race,’ ‘nobody can touch us.’…what would armchair enthusiasts have to say about that?

      So exactly what should TW say that would be just the right thing to say? I suspect he is telling us the truth, or at least his last sentence in the article above is something we are all hoping for, so…

      Perhaps there is a chance that RBR and Ferrari can continue to apply enough pressure that Mercedes finally finds themselves on the fringe of development into the the area of mistakes and unreliability by being forced to keep it cranked rather than being able to take a lead and coast.

      1. ‘we will dominate,’ ‘we will win every race,’ ‘nobody can touch us.’…

        I would have appreciated that

      2. ‘we will dominate,’ ‘we will win every race,’ ‘nobody can touch us.’

        I would actually prefer that to this guff. At least it would wind up the opposition.

        1. Lol, fair enough, that’s two of you. Anybody think Ferrari or RBR would be saying that which you would appreciate if they were in the same situation of dominance? Get all cocky and expect that’s good from a marketing standpoint?

          1. I wouldn’t expect him to be cocky but more realistic. They’ve had next-to-no reliability issues in four years and pre-season testing went smoothly. Can they seriously still have question marks over reliability?

            I just wish he’d stop downplaying Mercedes so much. Does he really think people will believe they aren’t favourites? I’d like to hear a bit more arrogance instead of Wolff and co tripping over themselves to talk up Ferrari and Red Bull.

            1. They’ve had next-to-no reliability issues in four years

              Huh? What team are you talking about? … because it certainly isn’t Merc. I can think of a dozen issues just off the top of my head, I’m sure if you went back through the last 4 seasons you’d find plenty more.

        2. @johnmilk @deej92 agreed, I guess since wolff has no technical background he is sensible not to sound like abiteboul who never knows a thing and still makes erroneous statements.

          1. Just thought of a bit of an example to illustrate my point, when I was commenting on the new topic about Mac getting on top of their testing woes.

            Here we have had Mac claim numerous times now that their chassis is top notch, even the best, and it’s mainly Honda to blame for their 3 awful years, but when they struggled in testing over the last few weeks and STR Honda put in way more laps, now Mac’s words are haunting them, and some people have gone to defending Honda and saying see it was Mac after all and their chassis has actually been the problem and is nothing special after all, shame on McLaren. There are sentiments such as ‘ok then, now that you have a Renault pu and you claim to have the best chassis, there’s no excuses,’ when in fact we all know there should be teething problems (reasons not excuses) with a new chassis/pu marriage if indeed F1 is hard. But now Mac doesn’t get that level of patience because they felt compelled in recent years to remind us that they are better than Honda has allowed them to show.

    8. Since 2011 I’ve been mocking f1 for the ban on refuelling. a fallacy to stop top teams from ruining races on fuel stopps. LMP1 cars (by the way diesels vw wanted so aco did it) were stopping every 30 mins or in f1 terms 2 to 3 times per race back in 2011.
      Now, I must mock the fact this year’s f1 regulation means f1 cars could, possibly run the whole 24 du Mans on a technical level. Even with the straights of le sartre they should do 1h30m no refuelling, a lot more than ENDURANCE RACING.

      1. I take your point, but isn’t this just the by-product of saving costs and being seen to be a little more environmentally conscious, by using way fewer engines than in the past, and by using fully one third less fuel? Sure they appear to be moreso endurance cars than sprinters, but doesn’t that just come with the territory? They’re still the fastest cars and only even faster this year, using the pinnacle of technology.

    9. Wolff did not say they have a reliability issue, he only said they could not VERIFY the reliability due to the mileage in testing. True for each team. I do think there will be issues with ALL teams, even Mercedes. I say even Mercedes, because they are likely to have to push the cars harder considering the competition they may face this year. Perhaps fewer laps on lower modes when the race is in hand? And fewer engines/components available.

    10. He didn’t say anything unreasonable, they won’t know what they don’t know. So because there are question marks his team are going to be pretty much on red alert. They can’t afford to be complacent, on the flip side since they’re a works team at least the destiny is in their own hands unlike RB who will have to cross their fingers.

    11. You Go Shavez
      19th March 2018, 18:57

      I think Toto is suggesting that should the car be dominant as it has been in recent years. Then Bottas will become WDC after the other car has a few power unit issues.

      I still find it bizarre that 2016 winter testing the car was perfect only for one car & engines to consistently break down. Come the following season both cars were near flawless

      1. Yes, suspicious more than bizarre!

    12. Andrew Purkis
      21st March 2018, 22:26

      just do the belgium/imola paradigm

    Comments are closed.