RACE DEBRIEF

    Mercedes may have won the last six Formula 1 constructors’ championships but that doesn’t mean it’s plain sailing when building a new car - even for the relentlessly successful Silver Arrows.

    Engine boss Andy Cowell says the team are working hard to get on top of teething troubles with the new power unit as the countdown to pre-season continues. “[There’s] lots going on in Brixworth, lots of improvements across the whole power unit, on the ERS [Electronic Recovery System] side, on the Internal Combustion Engine side," he said.

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    “As ever, we’re fighting a few little issues as we pull everything together, so lots of work going into building the right spec, getting it long-runned and providing power units to the teams so that they can fire up their cars.

    “I think you’ve spotted one that’s fired up already…” he added.

    With fewer days of testing for all teams – six days of running instead of eight in Spain – Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda have their work cut out ahead of the season opener on March 15. Before that, we have the Mercedes W11’s Valentine’s Day shakedown at Silverstone to look forward to.

    Cowell continued: "[We have the] car launch on February 14 with a red rose, and then off to Barcelona with three cars, hopefully, pounding around the track.

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    “Just six days of track testing though before we’re off to Melbourne, and the race pool: a huge number of those parts already made, assemblies going together and then the challenge of getting everything to the other side of the world.

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    Andy Cowell, right, at the launch of the 2019 Mercedes W10

    “Busy time, chasing bits of performance, getting the reliability there, getting a huge amount of hardware together and getting it to the other side of the world,” he concluded.

    Last season Lewis Hamilton was only one of two drivers (along with Haas's Romain Grosjean) not to exceed his allowance of power unit elements as he roared to his sixth world championship.

    This year Valtteri Bottas - not to mention power unit customer teams Williams and Racing Point - will all be hoping Cowell's team iron out the kinks and provide them wth similarly bullet-proof levels of reliability.