© Photo | Mercedes AMG PETRONAS

“With a partner of this calibre we expect this to give us a clear compet­i­tive advan­tage”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motor­sport, explains how the part­ner­ship with ebm-papst helps the team and contributes to racing success, in an inter­view that took place ahead of the 2016 season.

Mr. Wolff, the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS part­ner­ship with ebm-papst is now entering into its third season. Give us a progress report.

Toto Wolff: The part­ner­ship is highly effec­tive. In Formula OneTM, it’s very impor­tant that all the different parts of the team work together. And ebm-papst is a key part of the team because the company helps us in many crit­ical areas. It makes a major contri­bu­tion by effec­tively cooling our cars at the track with the on-car cooling fans. And our employees work more effi­ciently and effec­tively in a cooler envi­ron­ment in the team garages as well.

Why are working condi­tions so impor­tant today?

We have 60 or 70 mechanics working in the pit garages. When the car arrives with a hot engine and hot brakes, the temper­a­ture can become very high. Both the mechanics and the drivers perform better when the temper­a­ture in the garage is 28 °C instead of 45 °C. With ebm-papst, we have created a pleasant working climate. This provides a clear advan­tage in the compet­i­tive racing envi­ron­ment at Grands Prix.

In Brackley, you also rely on the venti­lation tech­nology exper­tise of ebm-papst now …

Yes, we have 800 employees at our head­quar­ters in Brackley in the UK. It is impor­tant that they work in a comfort­able air condi­tioned build­ings — not too cold or too hot and with pleasant air — so they can concen­trate. As we measure and improve all aspects of our oper­a­tion on a contin­uous basis, I can confi­dently say that ebm-papst help our success.

As far as cooling is concerned, do you think you’ve reached the pinnacle in Formula OneTM?

There’s always room for improve­ment in Formula OneTM. We’re always working to make the car even faster, generate a bit more down­force and find more power from the engine. It’s exactly the same with cooling. We want increas­ingly effi­cient cooling systems and to constantly improving work condi­tions — our collab­o­ra­tion with ebm-papst in these areas is key.

How did the compe­ti­tion react to the new supplier? Surely they are curious about what you are doing.

Of course, Formula OneTM teams are always trying to copy the inno­va­tions of others. It’s obvious that we have new units and new venti­lation systems in the pit. So I expect to see one or two other teams coming along with a similar solu­tion. But we were the first to react, and with an exclu­sive rela­tion­ship with a partner of this calibre we expect this to give us a clear compet­i­tive advan­tage

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