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Mercedes F1 offers insight into its engine modes

4 April 2018

Following the discussion regarding Mercedes’ engine modes at the Australian Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton set a pole lap some 0.6 seconds ahead of second place Kimi Raikkonen in his Ferrari, and Hamilton’s pre-season comments that the Mercedes qualifying trim was so good it should be referred to as a ‘party mode’ the team has sought to clarify its use of engine modes.

The team denies using a different engine mode during Q3 at Melbourne, and insists that the same engine mode was used throughout qualifying. In order to douse the increasing interest however, the team has shared some information about the way it uses engine modes to either increase power or reliability, depending on the context – an approach common across all the F1 engine manufacturers.

“The main task of PU modes is to balance performance and reliability. Formula 1 is all about performance, but with just three Power Units per driver in 2018, reliability is increasingly important. This is why the drivers have reduced mileage allocations of the higher power modes,” explained Mercedes.

“We use three basic modes over the course of the weekend – one for the majority of the free practice sessions, one for the majority of qualifying and one for the majority of the race.”

However, the use of the modes is dependent on situation. Mercedes gave the example of the race start as a time when “full deployment” is used, drivers will then switch to a “recovery energy management mode and charge the battery to make sure they have more energy available for their next attack.”

Mercedes also stressed that the power modes available to its customer teams are the same as those available to the works teams, and said the available mileage of each mode is dependent on what is known as the “phase document”. This document “defines the limits to which the Power Unit may be used during each race weekend, and which is the same for the works cars and the Mercedes customer teams.”

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