Mercedes share update on Hamilton’s engine after Melbourne failure

The 39-year-old was compelled to pull off the track after only 17 laps of racing at Albert Park

By Web Desk
April 02, 2024
Mercedes sit fourth in the constructors’ standings. - F1

Mercedes has provided some insight into the investigations underway at their dedicated F1 power unit facility in Brixworth following Lewis Hamilton’s engine-related retirement from the Australian Grand Prix.

Hamilton was compelled to pull off the track after only 17 laps of racing at Albert Park, with teammate George Russell’s late accident compounding the setback and marking Mercedes’ first double DNF since the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix.

Inquired during the team’s post-race debrief video whether they were aware of what had caused Hamilton’s failure, Mercedes Technical Director James Allison said: “We do not. The power units will return to the safe hands of the guys at Brixworth, who will be able to figure out what let go.

“All we know is the symptoms at the time, which was a rapid loss of oil pressure followed by a shutdown of the engine to protect it.

“When you know you’ve got catastrophic loss like that, the best thing you can do for the future is kill it there and then, and then you have not got like a load of molten metal.

“You have normally got a fairly clear evidence chain of what caused it and then that lets you work better for the future. So, we do not know yet, [but] Brixworth and HPP [Mercedes High Performance Powertrains] will do in short order.

“No doubt as soon as we know then they will jump to with their characteristic energy to make sure that any risk that happens on any other engine is mitigated as best we can.”

Allison emphasised, however, that there are no major concerns over the team’s reliability moving forward, with "all our focus" instead on extracting more performance from the W15 and getting closer to the front of the field.

“DNFs are thankfully a rare thing for us,” he commented. “We have drivers who are particularly good at keeping it on the island and our reliability overall is a strong point.

“It is unusual to have a double DNF like that. It is certainly not something we expect to punctuate our season. What we are more focused on is the pace because if you get the pace sorted out the season will be okay whatever happens.

“The baseline reliability of the car, our procedural approach to it and the skill of our drivers will tend to keep you clear of DNFs. All our focus is on the pace knowing that those other foundations are in decent shape.”

Following the first three rounds of the season, and their double DNF in Australia, Mercedes sit fourth in the constructors’ standings, behind McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull.