Mercedes has revealed its updated power unit at the French Grand Prix is of an even newer specification than the version that was delayed in Canada.
Originally planning on introducing what it called Phase 2 of its power unit in Canada, Mercedes was forced to delay its update as a result of a “quality issue” that left the works team plus Force India and Williams remaining with the previous specification.
While the team was coy on its plans to introduce the update in France, after topping the first two practice sessions with Lewis Hamilton on Friday — the second by 0.7s — Mercedes has now confirmed that a further update has been used at Paul Ricard.
“All six Mercedes-powered cars were fitted with fresh ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for this weekend,” a Mercedes spokesman said. “Those new components are of an upgraded specification which contains reliability and performance updates.
“While we would have had a Phase 2 in Canada, this is a Phase 2.1 with some ‘added goodness’ thanks to a fantastic effort by the team in Brixworth. Since Canada, they have reworked six race units plus spares, all of which are on site.”
Mercedes also confirmed it plans on using the updated power units for the remainder of the race weekend in France, and Hamilton says the signs are positive as a result of the Friday performance.
“We’ve not opened it up at the moment but it feels clean and it feels fresh as a new engine does,” Hamilton said. “I guess I won’t really know until tomorrow when everyone gets to turn their engines up whether or not you feel much difference.
“I am grateful for all the hard work everyone back at Brixworth has done. They’ve really been pushing hard to get this engine here and doing it in the right way so a big thank you to everyone at the workshop. I hope we can do something great with it.”
Teammate Valtteri Bottas suffered a water leak in FP2 but is confident the issue won’t stop him using the upgrade on Saturday and Sunday.
“It is the new spec and it definitely felt fresh. We now need to find out the cause of the water leak but I think we are still confident we can run it for the rest of the weekend, which is good,” Bottas said. “It felt good. We are not running it yet in full power so there is more to discover tomorrow but in normal running it felt fresh and nice and a bit better than the old one.”