Powerhouse Mercedes did not have the best of outings in Abu Dhabi. For the first time this season, a Mercedes-powered car did not take pole, and instead, Max Verstappen grabbed that honor. Japanese manufacturer Honda supplies the engine for his Red Bull car.
This dominance carried over to the race where Verstappen took home just his second victory of the season. It’s always surprising when the Brackley-outfit fail to cross the checkered flag first.
“It’s not fully understood yet but there have been failures related to the K on Mercedes engines in the last couple of events. I would say that rather than being acutely aware of a specific problem, we are operating the power unit in a way that’s as conservative as we can be in order to try and avoid a problem.”
The season finale in the desert also was heartbreaking for Sergio Perez. The Mexican, running his final race with Mercedes-powered Racing Point, suffered an engine failure in the race. His car was already fitted with a new-spec pre-race, and this failure alerted the Mercedes pit wall.
Mercedes had a lot happening in the last round of the championship. Although fans are…
“When you don’t understand exactly the string of issues all you can do is just be a bit cautious. So during the race we were trying to reduce the duty marginally.”
Insignificant problem did not affect Mercedes in Abu Dhabi
However, Shovlin thinks that it did not dampen the race for Hamilton and Bottas. He believes that the drivers barely noticed it.
“The drivers wouldn’t have necessarily been aware of it. It was just something we were trying to manage in the background.
“[It was] small, not an amount that’s going to determine the race result. You’re talking significantly less than a tenth of a second [per lap] so not the difference between first and second.”
This is just a minor blip for the dominant team. Their engines have been class-leading throughout the entirety of this turbo-hybrid era. Expect them to get on top of this issue and roar with their engines again next season.