Mercedes’ technical boss James Allison has explained the odd bulge near the airbox of all Mercedes engined cars.
Changes to the engine covers and airbox have proved quite popular in 2021, with teams like Alpine carrying wide, bulbous airboxes that look very out of place. Aston Martin, Mercedes, and McLaren have unusual bulges on their airboxes as well, which James Allison has explained the use of.
“It’s probably most obvious to an external observer in that big bulge. There’s been a big investment by our friends at HPP (Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains), our team-mates at HPP, to redesign the plan of the intake system of the engine, re-tune the engine around that, and squeeze a lot more horsepower out of the power unit as a consequence”, Allison says.
“In previous years they were allowed three goes; you have a phase one PU (power unit), phase two PU, and a phase three, each brought at different parts of the season with the power unit getting stronger through the year. In this year’s rules, they get one go and they have to make sure they can put all that goodness into the power unit right from the start of the year”, he adds.
Mercedes and Ferrari both designed completely new power units for this season, which they will likely develop until the scheduled engine change in 2025.