Mercedes looks set to begin the 2015 season with its ‘old’ F1 engine.
It is the latest development in the so-called ‘engine unfreeze’ saga, after the FIA conceded a loophole in the 2015 regulations can indeed be legitimately exploited by suppliers.
That Ferrari and Renault can now develop their turbo V6s during the 2015 season was heralded as a political victory for Mercedes’ struggling rivals.
But Mercedes’ Toto Wolff is quoted by L’Equipe: “It might be said that it favours Renault and Ferrari. Actually, it will be a benefit to us.”
Undoubtedly, he is referring to the fact that, having begun the new turbo V6 era with a significant advantage, Mercedes is now confident of strongly developing its ‘power unit’ throughout 2015 and maintaining its advantage.
Rumours even hint that Mercedes is ready to unfurl a further 50 horse power for 2015.
“If that is true,” concerned Red Bull boss Christian Horner is quoted by Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo, “the difference (between Mercedes and) the other teams may actually increase.”
L’Equipe said Wolff confirmed that Mercedes’ strategy for the 2015 ‘unfreeze’ will be to take the ‘old’ 2014 engine into the winter period and then gradually begin to add performance.
Reports suggest the 2014 engine will probably then be used by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the first four races of the season in Australia, Malaysia, China and Bahrain.
“We will follow this strategy,” Wolff said.
Meanwhile, as F1 newcomer Honda rails against getting left out of the 2015 ‘unfreeze’, Wolff tipped the story to continue to unfold.
“As for Honda,” said the Mercedes boss, “it is normal that everyone has an opinion about it. The FIA will make its decision so let’s see what they say.
“Perhaps the competition will protest if they come to a grand prix with a new engine specification,” Wolff added. (GMM)