Horner: Mercedes engine reliability issues 'very unusual'

Christian Horner admitted to being surprised by the recent engine reliability issues encountered by Mercedes that could end... The post Horner: Mercedes engine reliability issues 'very unusual' appeared first on F1i.com.

Horner: Mercedes engine reliability issues 'very unusual'

Christian Horner admitted to being surprised by the recent engine reliability issues encountered by Mercedes that could end up deciding the outcome of Red Bull's championship battle with its rival.

As the two teams fiercely fight for supremacy ahead of the final leg of the 2021 season, Mercedes appears to be pushing the boundaries of its power unit's potential to try and secure an advantage.

But in doing so, the German manufacturer is also putting its unit on the fringes of reliability, with issues creeping in that threaten a costly DNF for championship contender Lewis Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas.

The Finn was handed new units in Italy and in Russia, while Hamilton took on a fresh ICE in Turkey. But in Austin, Bottas was the recipient of a sixth engine while customer teams Aston Martin and Williams were also supplied with complete new power units, respectively for Sebastian Vettel and George Russell.

The successive change point to worries creeping in at Mercedes and to the likelihood of Hamilton enduring another grid penalty at an upcoming race if another engine change is in the works.

Horner believes Mercedes is "weighing up risk versus reward" regarding its engine situation as the championship battle enters a crucial phase

"They’ve obviously been the benchmark of reliability the last six or seven years," Horner said. "So it’s unusual that they are in this situation."

Red Bull is also diligently managing its pool of Honda hardware, having allocated a fourth fresh engine to Max Verstappen in Russia with the hope that the Dutchman will be able to make it to Abu Dhabi with his current inventory of Honda units.

  • Read also: Mercedes 'hanging on for dear life' amid engine reliability issues

"We’re hoping to get it through to the end of the year with what we have, but that’s our assumption," Horner said.

"I think the situations can change quite quickly, as you can see, so you know, you can never say never.

"But we feel that by taking a penalty in Sochi, it got us back into a reasonable position."

The fight between Red Bull and Mercedes looks set to go don to wire, and Horner says that his team is pushing itself and Mercedes as hard as it can.

"We’ve really thrown everything at this season and at pretty much every race we’ve managed to give them a hard time," said the Briton.

"So when you consider how dominant they’ve been the last seven years and that this car is largely a carry-over of last year’s car, which was arguably their most dominant car, it’s testimony to the [Red Bull] team.

"They’ve got ourselves into this position to be challenging them with six races to go."

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Ecclestone doubts Andretti bid for Sauber will succeed

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone doesn't believe that Michael Andretti's prospective takeover talks with Sauber will come to... The post Ecclestone doubts Andretti bid for Sauber will succeed appeared first on F1i.com.

Ecclestone doubts Andretti bid for Sauber will succeed

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone doesn't believe that Michael Andretti's prospective takeover talks with Sauber will come to fruition, as nobody "really wants to go" to Switzerland.

Andretti Autosport is reportedly seeking to takeover Sauber Motorsport and the Alfa Romeo Racing team to secure its entry into Formula 1.

A successful buy-out of the Swiss motorsport group would put a second American team on the grid, and perhaps an American driver, with IndyCar front-runner Colton Herta eventually following at some point Andretti Autosport into F1.

But Ecclestone, who still keeps an ear to the ground regarding Grand Prix's racings affairs, doesn't see a deal happening between Andretti and Sauber.

©AlfaRomeo

"I hardly think Andretti will come to Formula 1," the 90-year-old told Blick.

"Switzerland is not exactly the ideal Formula 1 location for foreigners, even if the conditions are good with the factory and the wind tunnel.

"Above all, the important Brits don’t really want to go there, and they leave relatively quickly for personal reasons!”

"You just don’t feel comfortable without fish and chips", concluded Mr 'E' who has lived part-time in Gstaad for over 35 years.

  • Read also - Alonso: Herta a 'good fit' for F1, but likely happy in IndyCar

Initial negotiations between Andretti and Islero Investments which owns Sauber have allegedly already taken place.

But talks were set to continue this week in Austin. However, according to TheRace.com, a potential deal between the two parties which was believed to be a mere formality is now in jeopardy, with Islero's shareholders reportedly split on the decision to sell Sauber to Andretti.

Part of the investment firm's stakeholders are apparently reluctant to sell as they believe their prime F1 asset will only increase in value in coming years, a prospect shared by Mercedes team co-owner Toto Wolff.

"Whoever sells his F1 team now must be crazy," said Wolff. "The team will be worth much more in a year, and even more in two years. F1 is booming."

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