Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has confirmed their engines are using less power at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix due to reliability concerns.
In the 16 races prior to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, every pole position was powered by a Mercedes engine. Lewis Hamilton added another 11 poles to his mighty record, Valtteri Bottas picked up four P1 starting positions and even Racing Point’s Lance Stroll got in on the act with a shock pole in wet conditions at the Turkish Grand Prix.
But that particular streak came to an end in qualifying at the Yas Marina circuit as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen came out on top in a thrilling Q3 session, pipping Bottas to pole by just 0.025s with Hamilton only 0.086s away from P1 himself.
After the session, Wolff confirmed that Mercedes have had to turn the wick down on their engines slightly due to concerns over the MGU-K element of the engine.
The Mercedes-powered Racing Point of Sergio Perez went up in flames at the Bahrain Grand Prix, which saw a podium position slip from his grasp, and fellow customer team Williams have also experienced MGU-K related problems during Friday practice in Abu Dhabi when smoke started to appear from George Russell’s car.
As a result, Mercedes have been forced to act in order to try and get through the final race of the 2020 season.
“We took a little bit of power, a little bit of performance out of all the Mercedes engines,” Wolff told Motorsport-Total.com.
“We have a gremlin in there. The damage to the MGU-K occurred below the mileage it is normally supposed to last. And we do not yet understand exactly why.”