Mercedes’ engines are ‘hanging on for dear life’, team boss Toto Wolff admits, as Williams and Aston Martin join Valtteri Bottas in taking grid penalties due to supplier’s reliability issues ahead of the US Grand Prix
- Toto Wolff admits Mercedes are enduring major problems with their engines
- Three of four constructors who use Mercedes power are taking engine penalties
- Sebastian Vettel and George Russell will have to start from the back of the grid
- Valtteri Bottas, meanwhile, is on his sixth ICE ahead of the US Grand Prix
Toto Wolff has admitted that Mercedes are ‘hanging on for dear life’ with the engine supply to their customer teams.
On the first day of the United States Grand Prix weekend it was announced that three of the four constructors which use Mercedes power would be taking engine penalties.
Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin and George Russell of Williams will have to start from the back of the grid with both of their cars having fitted with their fourth internal combustion engines (ICE) of the campaign.
Team boss Toto Wolff has admitted that Mercedes’ engines are ‘hanging on for dear life’
Sebastian Vettel (L) of Aston Martin and George Russell (R) of Williams will have to start from the back of the grid
In addition, Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes is now on his sixth ICE, which is double the permitted number. As a consequence, he will start five places below the position in which he qualifies as he is hit with a penalty for the third time in four races.
McLaren are the only team powered by Mercedes who haven’t suffered so far in the United States, with Wolff admitting that it is a difficult situation.
Wolff acknowledged that Mercedes are suffering with regards to reliability and stressed that his team are trying to address the issues even though they don’t fully comprehend all of them.
Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes is now on his sixth internal combustion engine, which is double the permitted number
As reported by Planet F1, Wolff said: ‘I think you see that we are suffering with reliability this year.
‘We are going on to the sixth engine, I believe it is for Valtteri, and it’s not something we choose to do.
‘On the contrary, we are trying to really get on top of the problems and we haven’t understood [them] fully.
‘I think we are a step closer now, so it’s not always that we are literally easy with having the engines.
‘We are hanging on for dear life in supplying all customers and that is not trivial.’
It is a significant issue for Mercedes, with Wolff admitting that the problem has affected their hopes of retaining their two world titles, and has had a major effect in the drivers’ race.
Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton was hit with a 10-place grid penalty for the last race in Turkey
Merceds driver Lewis Hamilton is six points adrift of leader Max Verstappen after being hit with a 10-place grid penalty for the last race in Turkey.
Wolff said: ‘I think when you look at Monza, for example, Valtteri had to start from the back and we are losing points on the way,’ said Wolff.
‘We are trying to push the performance every year, and this year we’ve come to a point where that has cost us points. Over the last seven or eight years, that mindset has won us races and championships.
‘So I would have hoped for a few less penalties and use less engines, but this year it has really hit us hard.
‘McLaren and Aston Martin are more fortunate and in that respect, we just have to take it on the chin and do the best possible job.’