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Mercedes ramps up power 14 Mar 2003

David Coulthard (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/17D 
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 7 March 2003.

Both David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen expressed their satisfaction with the progress that Mercedes-Benz made with its latest V10 engine in Australia, where they finished first and third respectively with the Finn setting the race's fastest lap.

But both are looking forward even more to the next step which will come with the all-new engine for the forthcoming McLaren MP4-18A.

The engine used in Melbourne was the latest, Phase Six, version of the FO110M 90 degree V10 used in 2002, with which Coulthard won in Monaco. Besides a useful jump in horsepower - the engine started 2002 with around 825 bhp but is thought to have ended it with closer to 860 and started 2003 with 875 - the power unit also displayed strong reliability as the McLaren drivers' performance took Coulthard to the top of the drivers' and the team to the top of the constructors' titles, with 10 and 16 points respectively.

The grapevine suggests that designer Mario Illien is pulling out all the stops with the latest engine, the FO110P, which is being designed specifically for the new McLaren. Besides being smaller and having a lower centre of gravity than the FO110M, the new engine is rumoured to use direct injection to enhance fuel economy, and to take another big step forward on horsepower, taking it into BMW and Ferrari territory.