Mercedes — winners of the final 5 Components One driver and group titles — plan to make greater than a splash once they be a part of Components E in Season Six.
With the Silver Arrows concentrating on Components E success, ought to the game be frightened its days of open competitors will quickly be over?
Mercedes have taken a singular method to their debut season by sending the HWA Racelab group out on observe in Season 5 as Components E guinea pigs.
It is not the primary time that Mercedes and HWA have labored collectively, as HWA CEO and group principal Ulrich Fritz explains.
“The A of AMG in Mercedes-AMG is for Hans Werner Aufrecht” Fritz tells CNN. “He offered the AMG highway automobile enterprise to Mercedes in 1998 however determined to proceed racing, so HWA is the spin-off and the primary letters of his identify.
“We’ve an extended historical past with Mercedes and lots of successes collectively. We’re essentially the most profitable ever group in DTM (the German Touring Automotive Championship) and, with Mercedes, we gained a bunch of driver, producer and group titles.
“We need to win races and we need to win this championship sooner or later too.”
Might the energy of the HWA-Mercedes relationship give Mercedes a bonus forward of their rookie season as a works group?
“Having a group for a yr studying the ropes will make them hit the bottom working once they begin Season Six.”
“Trade of concepts”
The 2-way relationship between the invincible Mercedes F1 group and Fritz’s electrical whippersnappers can also be an enormous benefit in terms of Season Six prep.
Skilled race engineer Tony Ross — who labored carefully with Rosberg in his title-winning F1 marketing campaign in 2016 and extra not too long ago with Valtteri Bottas — has additionally been parachuted into the Components E group one yr early.
“We perceive one another as a giant, Mercedes motorsport household and naturally we will profit from one another,” says Fritz.
“It’s worthwhile to be completely ready, you want a superb high quality system in place, it’s worthwhile to have a powerful group of people that need to extract essentially the most out of the automobile, the drivers and the group — and that may be realized from one another.
“On the technical facet we profit from what Brixworth [Mercedes’ engine headquarters in England] has learnt in F1, there may be lots of trade of concepts and a superb collaboration.”
If there may be one factor prone to be worrying Mercedes’ future Components E rivals, it’s the potential of the electrical motors and powertrain being in-built Brixworth.
Mercedes’ F1 juggernaut is pushed by absolutely the dominance of the hybrid engine masterminded forward of the game’s main technical rule change in 2014.
Now, that very same group, beneath the management of Andy Cowell, is honing a excessive efficiency powertrain for its electrical cost.
The Season Six automobile — formally named the Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01 — is already up and working, ticking off 218 laps throughout a take a look at in June.
HWA drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Gary Paffet reported again that the automobile was “very dependable” and “first impressions had been excellent.”
Causes to be cheerful
Regardless of the fluidity between the Mercedes F1 and Components E groups, there isn’t any getting away from the truth that the 2 formulation are very totally different; you possibly can say as distinct as grunting combustion engine motors and purring battery-powered vehicles.
As with most issues in life, cash, or having much less of it, is likely one of the key differentials.
“F1 is so shrouded in cash,” explains Nicholls. “Mercedes are spending tons of of tens of millions [of dollars] in F1.
“Every group has its personal brake and acceleration pedals, every group has to construct their very own wheel weapons, it is only a nonsensical losing of cash. That spreads out the sector an excessive amount of when it comes to having the ability to compete.
“However since day one Components E has been fairly obsessive about protecting prices beneath management in order that groups can exist and never go bust, and that retains the competitors nearer.”
They’ll dedicate extra assets into designing and testing new elements for the automobile to extend its on-track efficiency.
The Components E rulebook merely would not permit for that sort of technical naval-gazing; all of the groups race with the identical Gen2 vehicles and batteries and may solely customise the automobile’s powertrain and software program.
FIA laws additionally say the price of a ready-to-race automobile and powertrain “shall not exceed” 817,300 euros ($916,552).
“In F1, Mercedes construct the engine and the automobile and the 2 collectively are just about excellent,” says Nicholls. “However the restrictions and laws in FE are a lot tighter that I do not assume that very same Mercedes’ dominance is feasible.
“If something they will be behind the curve of improvement as you could have producers like Audi who’ve been there since day one in 2014.”
In Season 5, HWA Racelab ran a automobile offered by the Venturi group in a deal that’s anticipated to see the latter outfit — a group run by by Toto Wolff’s spouse Susie — use the Mercedes powertrain subsequent season.
However HWA inherited some reliability points and there have been operational teething troubles too because the group completed ninth out of 11 groups.
Fritz identifies “understanding the product” and the sooner or later race format because the group’s largest challenges.
“This electrical drive-train, power administration, temperature administration and brake by wire are all utterly new to us,” Fritz explains. “So we have to adapt our operations and engineering to this — it has been a problem.
“On the racing facet … with observe, qualifying and the race in a single brief day it’s worthwhile to be up to the mark. Having new drivers and a brand new group hurts you extra.
“It’s worthwhile to function on zero errors in Components E or in any other case it’s extremely powerful to succeed.
“We’ve actually learnt quite a bit and ready the group we need to have subsequent yr. It is not nearly information and pure talent, it’s about expertise and that’s what we’re making an attempt to place collectively.”
Even with extra expertise, it could finally be unattainable for anybody to utterly grasp Components E’s distinctive system of sooner or later racing on ever-evolving metropolis middle circuits.
And the brains behind the electrical racing collection are all the time in search of new methods to make the racing much less predictable and the title race much more thrilling.
“This season Components E applied a brand new qualifying format that just about ensures that not one of the championship leaders begin from the entrance of the grid,” explains Nicholls.
“They exit first in qualifying so that they get the more serious observe. That’s an lively sporting determination to try to combine it up and preserve it random — and it really works.”
So can Mercedes merely ship their Silver Arrows flying into Components E and kill off the competitors?
“I do not assume they will are available in and dominate,” says Nicholls, who commentates on each Components 1 and Components E for the BBC.
“I can see them successful a race. It sounds silly however you have not really achieved a lot for those who win in FE — it is so unpredictable that you may get a pole and a win if issues fall into your favor.
“It is the sustained championship struggle and the consistency that is vital and I do not assume Mercedes will likely be difficult for the championship of their first yr.”
And what does the founding father of Components E assume will occur when the silver sharks which have devoured up the F1 competitors enters his pond?
“They are going to wrestle to have a giant benefit like they’ve in Components 1,” Agag tells CNN.
“The window of know-how is quite a bit smaller, the motive force makes a giant, huge distinction and the automobile will not be as decisive.
“No I do not see [Mercedes domination] occurring — and I do not assume anybody is especially frightened about it.”
The brand new Components E season — that includes new Mercedes and Porsche groups – begins within the desert warmth of Saudi Arabia on 22 November 2019.