Over the winter, many of the major components and sub systems like the transmission, the suspension, the cooling system and the Power Unit underwent rigorous testing, in which they were subjected to loads, temperatures and fatigue cycles similar to those they would experience in the F1 season. Before the car left the garage for the first time today, the team had tested something close to half a million kilometres cumulatively across all these different components.
“There are hours and hours that go into each piece, each assembly, each system, each full element and then the final Power Unit,” said Andy Cowell, Managing Director of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains. “It is a huge moment when the Power Unit bursts into life and those countless hours are rewarded with fuel being converted into useful work. Yes, it is a machine, but it is part of people’s lives and it’s personal.”
The initial “Fire-Up” is another one of those special moments as it is the first time when all the core systems – the hydraulic system, the electrical system, the fuel system, the cooling system, the gearbox, the chassis and of course the Power Unit – are assembled and the engine runs for the first time in unison with the other systems.
“You’ve had a factory which had fallen silent for a few weeks, from the end of the last season to this moment, where an engine leaps into life in the factory again,” said James. “Even if you’re not down in the build shop, you can hear it, so is has a certain emotional impact on us because a motor is running and it is the living proof that all those components are not only assembled but they function. At the same time, you know that you’re only about half way there through the about 90 planned test events.”