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Mercedes seven token spending spree explained

Mercedes AMG Petronas brought an updated power unit to Monza, for their second PU change of the season. However, efficiency – not power – was the aim. Over the Italian Grand Prix weekend, Andy Cowell was able to shed some light on the breaking story that the 2014 Constructors Champions had spent all of their seven development tokens in one hit, with the development stage contributing to the teams 2016 power unit plans. By that logic, it can be assumed now that a homologation date has been set for 2016 PU development and that Mercedes will have technically spent 32 tokens on next years PU, by taking into account the 25 tokens available next season added to the seven the teams have just spent.

“Then with the development activity going on in the factory, you get tempted by Spa and Monza in terms of the performance reward…the full throttle type tracks etc., so we took the decision this week that we would introduce our development engine and all of that work which really, probably three months of that work was probably focused on Melbourne 2016.” explained Cowell.

Seven tokens doesn’t necessarily mean a giant increase in torque and horsepower. That wasn’t the goal or intention with this upgrade phase; instead, Mercedes worked closely together with their partner and title sponsor Petronas, the focus primarily on combustion and efficiency where power is only a by-product.

Petronas have brought along a new and specially developed fuel and respective lubricants for use exclusively on the new spec power unit, which Andy Cowell confirmed that the power unit was optimised for use with the new Petronas fuel and vice versa.

“The fuel is specific to this engine, if you put this fuel in the old engines, it wouldn’t work as well. If you put the old fuel in this engine it wouldn’t work as well.” said Cowell.

Three of the seven tokens have been spent on combustion, which includes the ports, piston crown, combustion chamber, valve geometry, timing, lift, injector nozzle, coils and spark plugs. Cowell wouldn’t expand further as to where the other four tokens were spent, but did indicate that the four tokens were related to combustion. You could assume that the four tokens could have been spent in any of the following:

  • Injection System
  • Trumpet Inlet System
  • Throttle Inlet System
  • Lubrication
  • Friction coatings
  • Oil pressure pumps
  • Oil scavenge systems
  • Oil recuperation
  • Valve axis positioning

A likely spend could have been on the injection system, which would aid the delivery of the newly developed fuel via the high pressure fuel hose, fuel rail, fuel injectors and accumulators due to the injector nozzle being updated in the combustion spend. With two tokens remaining, they may well have been spent on oil pressure pumps and lubrication due to Petronas also provided updated lubricants. This would see oil pump gears, channels, piping and jets updated or developed to work specifically for the new oil, taking its new density and viscosity into account. The same thinking would most likely be applied to the oil pressure pumps which would be required to work and behave differently, when handling a new product that according to Cowell most likely wouldn’t work to its optimum level with the new Petronas lubricants.

“So seven tokens…we have spent three tokens on the combustion aspect of the engine. The other four tokens I’d rather not say where we’ve spent them.

“It’s largely that the fuels is enabling us to make changes around the ICE is where the majority is, three on combustion, there’s no rocket science there, the combustion aspect, particularly with the fuel is a key bit, but then there are some other enablers close to that, to put that whole package together.” explained Cowell.

About Seb Scott

Sebastian is an FIA accredited Formula One journalist and Motorsport engineer. He lives and breathes Formula One, especially the technical aspect of the sport. For a unique insight behind the scenes at a Grand Prix, especially tech related pictures, check out his twitter @sebscottf1

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