Toto Wolff doesn’t think Andy Cowell’s departure is hurting Mercedes with their recent engine issues, while he doesn’t expand more into what troubles they are having.

It has been rare for Mercedes to have engine issues in the current hybrid era, but it is a reality in 2021 where they have had to take six ICE for their driver Valtteri Bottas, four for Lewis Hamilton and more than for three for other customer teams and their drivers too.

While Wolff has been serious of issues they have been facing, there’s no pinpointing until now as to which area is troubling them the most. There is a natural thought process among some about Mercedes experimenting new ways of eking out performance for the future.

With the big change of 2022 and engine development halt for few seasons, Mercedes or any other engine manufacturer will need a power unit which has a lasting advantage and that cannot be beaten by any of their rivals in the time to come.

Even if the work is on the future, the present is a troubling one. One of the questions that was raised during the course of the US GP was if Mercedes are feeling the heat of Cowell not being around – who is hailed to be the guy to change Brixworth’s fortune.

But Wolff doesn’t think like that. “The strength of the organisation is its depth,” he said to written media. “Andy is clearly an exceptional personality that contributed in his day, but so is Hywel, and everybody besides him. I have 100 percent confidence in the structure that we have today. Engine developments are not something that happens overnight.

“It has a long lead time when things go right or things go wrong Andy was a massive part of our past success but so was Hywel and everybody else. So I don’t think you can pinpoint it to one of the leaders having decided to leave the organisation. They’re still really profound strengths within the organisation,” summed up Wolff.

The current situation has also raised queries if Mercedes is delaying engines for its customer teams too. So far, Williams and Aston Martin have seen issues with their engine to need a change, while McLaren has chosen to do so on their will.

An incident from Spa came to light of Aston Martin needing a change of Sebastian Vettel’s engine but it couldn’t be done. Interestingly, Wolff neither denied and nor confirmed the news, but only gave a hint and chose to speak about the stock they have instead.

“I think you can see that we are suffering with reliability this year,” said Wolff. “We’re going onto the sixth engine – I believe it is for Valtteri – and it’s not something that we choose to do but, on the contrary, we’re trying to really get on top of the problems, and we haven’t understood fully. I think we are a step closer now, so it’s not always that we are always, literally, easy with having the engines.

“We’re hanging on for dear life supplying all customers, and that is not trivial.” When asked on what issues they have, Wolff didn’t wish to expand either. “I wouldn’t want to disclose what it is, for obvious reasons, but it is always a concern,” added Wolff. “I think that, when you look at Monza, for example, Valtteri had to start from the back, and we’re losing points on the way.

“We are trying to push the performance every year and this year we’ve come to a point where that has cost us points. Over the last seven or eight years, that mindset has won us races and championships, so wouldn’t want… would have hoped to have less penalties and use less engines but this year it has really hit us hard.

“McLaren and Aston Martin were more fortunate and in that respect, we just have to take it on the chin and do the best possible job,” summed up Wolff, while adding on if Hamilton will require another one eventually or not, which he left it on race-by-race situation.

“I can’t say whether we will be taking one and what the percentage is, but obviously the risk is still there, and what is difficult to evaluate is do you want to pre-empt the situation and take another penalty and take the hit – or do you want to really run it and then possibly risk a DNF – and that is a discussion that is happening as we speak and we haven’t come to the right answers yet,” said Wolff.

Here’s Mercedes on strategy

Here’s Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton plus Toto Wolff and Christian Horner on US GP

Here’s Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton on Turn 1