In the last two rounds the Mercedes managed to completely reopen the race for the drivers’ title, winning with Lewis Hamilton two clear victories in Brazil and Qatar. The # 44 W12 appeared impregnable in both weekends and above all in the race in Interlagos, in which – equipped with a new power unit – it recovered without a shot being injured from the last starting position in the Sprint race on Saturday to the first at the end of the Sunday GP. The Brackley team then put that engine to ‘rest’, deciding to mount the power unit already used in Turkey in Losail, on the car of the world champion. The goal is to play the ‘wild card’ of the cooler unit in the last two races of the season, in Jeddah and Yas Marina.
Throughout the year – and in particular in the second half of the season – Mercedes has suffered huge reliability issues on their engines. Both in the client teams and in the ‘first team’ the substitutions of components, with consequent penalties on the starting grid, were constant. Hamilton’s latest performances, combined with the continuing controversy between the silver arrows and Red Bull, had partially ‘hidden’ these drawbacks. But now it is emerging that the situation is far from resolved. The race of Valtteri Bottas in fact, in Qatar, even before the puncture, it was ruined by the engine problems.
Bottas had an engine problems for most of his race in Qatar (alarms on the steering wheel and a lot of engine/gears management – radio calls). That’s the real reason why Mercedes decided to retire his car. Will he get another ICE in Saudi Arabia? The chances are high. # F1 pic.twitter.com/2RQ7fR6gfC
– Daniel Biały (@ f1talks) November 25, 2021
The Polish journalist Daniel Biały on Twitter has in fact highlighted how during the Grand Prix in the Finnish car they appeared continuously alarms on the steering wheel screen. This was joined by multiple radio communications from the box wall, linked to the management of the power unit. The damage caused by the puncture certainly contributed to damaging the aerodynamics of the car, but all the same Toto Wolff he explained that the car had also been stopped to reduce the mileage on the power unit.
These images show how in reality the engine used by Bottas was really on the edge of your life. At this point, also given the extremely fast conformation of the Jeddah track, it is not excluded that in Saudi Arabia the # 77 car may be fitted with yet another new ICE component.