Otmar Szafnauer has revealed that Mercedes-Benz has allowed his Sahara Force India F1 Team, as well as Williams Martini Racing and the works Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team, to run higher engine modes for longer during this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The Force India COO says they, and the other teams on the grid running with the Mercedes power unit, have often been restricted to how long they can utilise the higher engine modes, but after thorough testing at Brixworth, these are now able to be used for longer periods of time.
Szafnauer feels the benefits of running the higher modes will be more evident in Qualifying, and after a strong-looking pair of sessions on Friday for both Esteban Ocon and Sergio Pérez, it could have positive effects for the team around the Baku Street Circuit.
“Mercedes sometimes rightfully so will restrict the more potent modes that we run to a limited amount of time or laps,” Szafnauer is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.
“That’s because the way they go about developing is that they will validate from a reliability standpoint those modes to a point where they think they’re safe to run. And then they let us all run those.
“Then they’ll go back once the season starts and have an increase on those modes, so you can run a higher mode for longer, and they’ll stick that on the dyno and validate it to make sure that the engine will hold. And then when they’re happy, then they’ll increase the modes. And they’ve done that here.
“They run it on the dyno to the point where they’re happy that those modes run on the dyno for a longer period isn’t going to cause engine damage, and then once they’re happy, they tell all of us at the same time.
“Now you don’t have to run those, you can save them. But they’re made available to all of us at the same time. You’d be silly not to. It’s a little bit longer qualifying mode. It’s just lap time at the end of the day.”