breaking news


today is Dec 02, 2021

Mercedes has replaced Lewis Hamilton’s engine due to higher than expected degradation in its performance.

Team principal Toto Wolff told Sky the Interlagos race presents a good opportunity to make the change as Hamilton will not have to take his five-place grid penalty in tomorrow’s sprint qualifying race.

“We have deg on the engine that until the end of the season is just going to continue to decrease in power,” he explained. “And we haven’t yet realised why that is but we’re just seeing it creep down.”

Both Mercedes drivers have exceed the maximum allocation of three internal combustion engines. Valtteri Bottas is already on his sixth while Hamilton has taken his fifth today.

Wolff said this was due to degradation the team had not witnessed in previous years of using the V6 turbo hybrids. Hamilton’s engine had to be changed in order to ensure he would be competitive over the final races.

“Every engine is degrading, we have seen that over the past years, that over a thousand kilometres there is a certain amount of kilowatts that the engine is degrading,” he explained.

“Ours is just degrading much more than the average of the past few years. And that increases from weekend to weekend. So if we keep the engine, we are going to be, for sure, not competitive in Saudi and Abu Dhabi.”

Wolff confirmed that Hamilton now has this new engine and his fourth internal combustion engine, which was fitted at the Turkish Grand Prix, in the pool for the remaining races, all three prior engines having been ruled out of further race use. “I think this is the final one that we need to take,” he said.

The opportunity of the sprint race to improve Sunday’s starting position, he said, was what had pushed Mercedes to take the penalty in Sao Paulo. “There’s this opportunity. Obviously, Saudi looks like a good opportunity too, but we think by then that the motor is going to lose more power. So in terms of our simulations, that’s the right place to do it.”

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