Mercedes Maintains Confidence in W15 Reliability After Hamilton’s Engine Failure

Mercedes continues to probe the depths of Lewis Hamilton’s engine malfunction during the Australian GP, yet as the Brackley team gears up for Japan, there are no lingering apprehensions regarding their car’s dependability.

Hamilton‘s unfortunate early exit in Melbourne, a mere 17 laps into the race, was prompted by a power unit glitch. Regrettably, the Briton’s woes were exacerbated by a late crash from teammate George Russell.

This double DNF marked a rare occurrence for Mercedes, the first since the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix, leaving the team puzzled about the root cause of Hamilton’s engine failure.

James Allison, the technical director, acknowledged their current state of uncertainty, admitting they are operating without a clear understanding.

The defective unit is yet to undergo a comprehensive analysis at Mercedes’ engine hub in Brixworth, as Allison explained, “All we know is the symptoms at the time, which was a rapid loss of oil pressure followed by a shutdown of the engine to protect it.”

He further elaborated, “When you know you’ve got catastrophic loss like that, the best thing you can do for the future is kill it there and then, and then you have not got like a load of molten metal.

“You have normally got a fairly clear evidence chain of what caused it and then that lets you work better for the future. So, we do not know yet, [but] Brixworth and HPP [Mercedes High Performance Powertrains] will do in short order.

“No doubt as soon as we know then they will jump to it with their characteristic energy to make sure that any risk that happens on any other engine is mitigated as best we can.”

Mercedes, despite this setback, remains resolute in its commitment to enhance the performance of its W15 contender, with concerns over reliability kept to a minimum.

Allison reassured, “DNFs are thankfully a rare thing for us. We have drivers who are particularly good at keeping it on the island and our reliability overall is a strong point.”

He continued, “It is unusual to have a double DNF like that. It is certainly not something we expect to punctuate our season. What we are more focused on is the pace because if you get the pace sorted out the season will be okay whatever happens.”

The team’s emphasis lies on pace optimization, with confidence in the foundational reliability of their car, their procedural approach, and the skill of their drivers to steer clear of DNFs. Allison concluded, “All our focus is on the pace knowing that those other foundations are in decent shape.”