Former Mercedes F1 team executive director Paddy Lowe has revealed that Mercedes hid the maximum power of their 2014 F1 engine for most of the first year of the hybrid era for fear that the FIA would not change the rules to slow them down.
Mercedes was best prepared team for the new era of Formula 1, which began in 2014 with 1.6-liter V6 turbo engines and the ERS energy recovery system, which consists of two motor generators MGU-K and MGU-H and with which both Ferrari and Renault struggled from the beginning.
In the first season of the new rules in 2014, Mercedes had an extremely dominant car with which they won 18 pole positions and 16 wins in 19 races, and the advantage that Hamilton and Rosberg had in qualifying was often about one second.
Lowe arrived at Mercedes in 2013 after being at Williams from 1987 to 1993 and at McLaren from 1993 to 2013, and before leaving the team in January 2017 he won three double championship titles with the team..
“Bernie ran around and said‘ this is a nightmare, these engines are awful, ’Lowe told the Beyond The Grid podcast.
“It was thought that if Mercedes looked ridiculously good then something would have to be done about it.”
“In qualifying, we would never use full power for Q1 and Q2. And then there was the debate about how much to unleash from the engine for Q3.”
“I’d listen to Toto say ‘That’s too much, that’s too much!’. And I thought, ‘‘But if we don’t get pole, we’ll look like a right bunch of mugs.’
“So we had to pick a figure that would do the job, but we didn’t want to overdo it in the other direction. So it was a big part of the discussions on Saturday afternoon. It was a nice conversation to have.”
“Actually, it took quite a long time. For most of 2014, that engine was never at full power in qualifying.”
Lowe says the Mercedes W05 was also a very good car and that engine power was not its only advantage.
“It was also a good car, it wasn’t just an engine,” he said.
“We had fantastic aerodynamics, better than all the others, which we tracked compared to the others because we would correct other people’s data in relation to engine power.”
“And that car was better than any other, not looking at the engine.”
Hamilton and Rosberg led in as much as 86.24% of the total number of laps in the 2014 F1 season (1134 laps) – Hamilton led 495 laps, in 15 races, and Rosberg 483 laps, also in 15 races.
In Septemer 2017, Mercedes revealed that they found 109 HP compared to their 2014 F1 power unit and increased thermal efficiency from 44% to 50%.