Mercedes with engine experiments - Technical and sporting news

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuitae

The Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team used the last race weekend of the season for experimenting with 2020-specification engine components after it had to install fresh power unit parts in to the car of Valtteri Bottas, exceeding the permitted allocation. With minor reliability concerns with the brand-new units, the team had to make precautionary changes over the weekend.

The persisent reliability problem – Despite his second place in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Max Verstappen was dogged by reliability problems in the 55-lap race. The Dutchman started complaining after his sole pit stop of issues under acceleration out of corners. The 8-time race winner explained after the race that he experienced delays when getting on the throttle. The 22-year-old was reluctant to go into details regarding the issue that has occurred multiple times throughout the 2019 season.

5kg discrepancy – Following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari was find EUR50000 for a sporting matter. According to the TD / 014 – 19 teams have to declare the amount of fuel they intended to put in the car for the laps to the grid, the formation lap, the race, the in-lap and any fire-ups. The FIA technical delegate randomly carries out checks at cars and while measuring the amount of fuel in Charles Leclerc's car, they found out that there was a difference of 4.88kgs between the team's declaration and the FIA's measured fuel mass. After the stewards heard from the team representative, they determined that the Italian outfit should be fined EUR50000 for the inaccurate declaration.

Multiple engine changes – Following Valtteri Bottas' engines woes during the Brazilian Grand Prix, the Anglo-German outfit decided to install fresh power unit components in to the Finn's Mercedes AMG W10 for the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi. The Nastola-born driver received the latest spec-4 internal combustion engine which also enabled to team's engineers to carry out real, on-track tests on solutions designed for 2020. However, the fresh components developed problems after the Friday practices, prompting the mechanics to replacing the brand-new units . The unexpected change meant the Bottas completed the final practice session, the qualifying and the race with a new internal combustion engine, turbocharger, motor generator unit – heat and a motor generator unit kinetic.

Tyre measurements – Red Bull fitted a pair of cameras on the front side of the sidepods of their RB15s for the free practice sessions. The additional devices were tasked with collecting information on the 2019 tyres which the team could not gather with the usual tools. As teams are staying at Abu Dhabi for the season's last on-track testing where they can try out Pirelli's 2020-specification tyres, it was particularly important to gain as much information as possible on this year's products to assess the changes that the Milan-based company implemented for next season.

Aerodynamic test item – Mercedes appeared to use a revised front wing in the practice sessions of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Anglo-German outfit brought a modified front wing design to the Gulf that features two upper flaps which have been pared back. It suggests that Mercedes wanted to try out a less loaded front wing design, the route that its fierce rival Ferrari chased all season long. It remains to be seen whether Mercedes comes up with a solution next year which produces less drag for higher top speed.

Durable tyres - Pirelli brought the softest three compounds of its 2019 range to Abu Dhabi. In the 55-lap race, every compound performed as expected and all of them showed consistent and durable performance. Proving the durability of the hard compound, Pierre Gasly completed an astonishingly long stint of 52 laps on the White C3 compound after his clash at the start that forced him to make an early stop.