Mercedes-Benz head of development Thomas Weber has confirmed that the German manufacturer has a plan in place to make greater use of its Formula 1 engine development facility in the UK for road car projects.
Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains, the facility in Brixworth that is responsible for the hybrid 1.6-litre V6 powerplants used by the Mercedes F1 squad, has potential to take on new work now that the intensive development of the racing units has ended.
Asked by Autocar whether he could foresee Brixworth taking on more road car development work, Weber said: “That’s already decided. Especially in combination with AMG there are some new ideas of what we can do together.
“Following the introduction of the new powertrains, Formula 1 is now in a period where technical development is frozen. Normally we would have to look at reducing workforce in line with this cycle. It is necessary because we have to reduce spending.
“Now with this really qualified team of engineers [at Brixworth], I have some ideas to do some of the advanced engineering studies and advanced development activities, and maybe also production of high-end models. The reason we can play this card is because Brixworth boss Andy Cowell reports direct to me."
Weber wouldn’t be drawn on precisely what kind of road car project Brixworth could work on, although it would likely put the facility’s expertise in high-powered hybrid powertrains to good use.
Brixworth was responsible for powertrain development on the Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS Electric Drive.
Earlier this year, AMG boss Tobias Moers told What Car that exploiting Brixworth’s know-how was a tantalising proposition: “The guys in Brixworth [the UK base for Mercedes’ F1 motors] pulled down the shutters and closed the curtains for a year and a half because they were working on the new F1 rules,” he said, “but now they are open again. We have had a good relationship with them before and now this hybrid technology is something that we can start looking at.”
Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains employs about 400 people at its Northamptonshire base, which is part of the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre.