The Mercedes Formula 1 team could have found a brand new engine trick which gives the outfit a much higher straight-line speed over a single lap, after sources close to F1 Hub suggested that this new ‘trick’ was trialed during the opening practice at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka.
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes dominated Friday in Japan, topping both practice sessions with Valtteri Bottas slotting into second place during both practice sessions after the outfit massively outscored Ferrari and Vettel at the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi less than a week ago, and showed no signs of easing out of their title challenge despite a healthy margin in both championships.
A new report suggests the Mercedes Formula 1 team may have found a trick of its own in terms of power unit gains (or as many put it, “party mode) down the straights, which could be a key tool that help Mercedes move forward in qualifying. Data from the opening practice in Japan show that the two Mercedes F1 cars peaked at 312 and 311 kph at the end of the speed trap before 130R, which gave the team a significant level of top speed advantage over the rest. After Mercedes, Vettel’s Ferrari was third in the speed traps – peaking at only 302 kph, highlighting a rather unusual advantage for the world champions.
The top speed advantage, however, disappeared for second practice session (a session where teams normally run more aggressive with power unit and engine modes). Hamilton’s Mercedes peaked at 306 kph at the same speed trap at best, meanwhile Vettel did 306 kph. This suggested Mercedes tried out what could be a new ‘trick’ in FP1, however didn’t deploy the same in the following session. Many expect this ‘trick’ to return for qualifying at Suzuka, should it remain dry, which could potentially give Mercedes a significant advantage in their fight with Ferrari for pole in Japan.