The Mercedes team may have won seven consecutive drivers' and constructors' championship doubles, but according to reports, it isn't all plain sailing at their Mercedes AMG High-Performance Powertrains division this off-season.
Engine chief at Mercedes' Brixworth facility Hywel Thomas admitted to problems in a video posted to YouTube, saying: "We know we have issues but we have plenty of plans in place to fix all of those issues."
The first batch of Mercedes turbo-hybrid V6 power units has already been delivered to their customer teams, including McLaren, Williams and Aston Martin. These three teams have had contrasting fortunes as of late, with the last win for McLaren and for Williams coming in the unusual 2012 season while Aston Martin took a victory last year in their former guise as Racing Point.
"This year, there have been a few additional things thrown at us," Thomas explained, going on to say, "It's the first winter where we have prepared for only one single upgrade for the whole season. So, we have to get all of our performance into the first PU that goes to the first race"
Mercedes statement draws criticism
Cynics pointed out that the statement bears a striking similarity to that released last year by then Mercedes engine boss Andy Cowell. Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas went on to win all but four Grand Prix in 2020, with a further win for Mercedes power by Sergio Perez in the Racing Point at Sakhir.
With pre-season testing just weeks away, rivals will be hoping Mercedes power is not the dominant force in 2021 as it has been for the turbo-hybrid era so far. Conversely, Lewis Hamilton, recently knighted, will be aiming for a record eighth world title but to do so will require all the horsepower Mercedes can muster.