The higher altitude of the upcoming Formula One races in Mexico and Brazil, according to Williams, should not cause greater anxiety about the Mercedes engines’ reliability.
Over the course of the United States Grand Prix weekend, Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff admitted that the German company was experiencing “some reliability difficulties that are coming back” with their engines.
In Austin, Valtteri Bottas had to use his third new engine in four races, while teammate Lewis Hamilton had used his fourth power unit of the year in Turkey.
Sebastian Vettel and George Russell’s engine were also replaced ahead of the US GP by Mercedes customers Aston Martin and Williams.
The upcoming races in Mexico and Brazil will be place at altitudes of 2285m and 800m, respectively, and the reduced oxygen means that turbo and MGU-H components will have to work harder.
However, Williams’ head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson, claims that the increased altitude will not be a problem for the team.
“No, at the moment that’s not a concern,” said Robson. “I don’t think the altitude will be a big problem in terms of the reliability. It’ll be fine, so no, at this stage I don’t think there’s concerns.
“I think with George we were always gonna have to take this fourth power unit after his difficulties in Austria,” he added.
With five races remaining, Williams is eighth in the constructors’ standings, having benefited from strong performances in the Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix, where it scored 20 of its 23 points.
With Alfa Romeo 16 points behind, Williams looks to be in good position, especially because Robson feels the squad has the potential to compete with Alpine or Aston Martin.
“I think we ebb and flow a little bit for eighth place with Alfa so I think that is part of it and I think typically we can get pretty close to Alpine and Aston Martin so I think eighth or ninth is probably where the car is,” he said.
“But then on a good day we can pick off the slower of the two Alpines and the slower of the two Aston Martins. I think that is where we are. And typically we’ve been able to pick off Tsunoda but recently he has done very well, the last couple of qualifyings especially, so that has been a little more difficult.
“But I think that is it, we are ninth certainly and sometimes eighth and then close to seventh.
“Sometimes we do a good job and pick off a few more cars than perhaps we should.”
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