Manufacturers have had to adjust their PUs to suit the different cornering characteristics of the 2022 cars, as well as having to deal with the change from E5 to E10 fuel.
In essence, the 2022 aerodynamic package means that this season drivers will be tackling corners in a different manner to previous years, and the PU suppliers have had to make changes to ensure optimum power delivery.
Thomas says HPP has done a lot of homework in conjunction with the chassis team in Brackley, but is ready to make further changes after early testing with the new cars.
“The 2022 car is very, very different,” Thomas said in a team video. “We know the aerodynamics are different.
“And from all the things that we’ve been told and from all the work we’ve done with the team here at Brackley, we believe that the car will be doing slightly different things, and the requests from the driver will be different as they go through the corners than they were in previous years.
“We’ve got simulations, we’ve done all our calculations, and we’ve modified the engine and the way that the engine drives in order for us to be ready.
“And we’ll be able to react to when the driver puts the power on perhaps in a slightly different way, perhaps at a slightly different time.
“Of course, we’re absolutely desperate to get to the first track test so we can see if those simulations are correct. Hopefully they will be.
“If not, we’ll be ready to adjust the PU as necessary to make sure that the driver gets exactly what they want when they ask for it.”
A mock up of Mercedes 2022 F1 car Photo by: Mercedes AMG
Thomas added that the new rules have given Mercedes an opportunity to re-think packaging and optimise the installation around what works best for the chassis designers.
“Every year we take a look at the power unit and the way that it sits inside the chassis in order to give us the best lap time,” he explained.
“With 2022 being an all-new chassis, what that means is that we have an opportunity to look at everything again.
“There are areas on the car which will be very sensitive to lap time. And there’ll be other areas in the car which are less sensitive. And what we’re trying to do with the PU is to make sure that we stay as far away as we can from the sensitive areas to give as much flexibility as possible for the car designers, and to package the parts of the PU into areas where there’s less sensitivity.
“So what that means is working hand-in-glove with the chassis department, and with all those engineers, to make sure that the PU fits in exactly where it needs to, to make sure we can make the fastest overall package.”
Thomas stressed that the PU performance freeze that will last until 2025 provides yet another challenge.
“The PU has a frozen performance spec. And what does that mean? It means that from the start of 2022 until the new PU, which we’re expecting to come in 2026, the performance of the engine is frozen.
“And from midway through the year, the performance of the electrical systems is also frozen from a performance perspective. So what that means is we will not be able to bring performance upgrades during the year. It’ll only be possible to do reliability upgrades.
“So with the new fuel, the freeze to performance of the PU over the course of the season, and the whole new car, the whole new aerodynamics and fitting the PU within it, there is a huge challenge for everyone involved, and especially team up in HPP.”