Mercedes explains Hamilton engine swap, rather than full PU
Mercedes explained why it chose to equip Lewis Hamilton’s car with a new internal combustion engine, rather than a brand new power unit, for this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix.
The new engine means Hamilton will suffer a 10 grid-place penalty for the race, rather than being sent to the back of the grid, which would have been the result had he traded a brand new PU.
Hamilton is currently in a title battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and leads the Dutchman by two points in the drivers’ championship.
Mercedes CTO Andrew Shovlin said Air sports that the team feel more comfortable sacking Hamilton 10 places rather than back on the grid, with the ICE being the main cause for concern over a potential mechanical issue.
“Well, we sort of simulate all the races until the end of the year and there is a balance between the risk of a reliability issue. a penalty anyway, ”Shovlin said.
“Then there is also an element of performance, because the power units lose a bit of power over the course of their life.
“Now the 10-seater penalty, the bit that contributes the most to reliability and performance is the ICE itself, and it’s better to take 10 places than start at the back.”
Hamilton’s weekend in Istanbul got off to a good start despite the penalty as he led the FP1 timesheet, four tenths of a second ahead of title rival Verstappen.
With Hamilton now destined not to start any higher than 11th on Sunday, Mercedes did not give up hope of securing victory on race day.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” Shovlin said. “This [the new engine] makes recovery easier, but could it have been a race Lewis could have won from pole?
“Obviously, this balance is one of the things [we consider] but that’s what it is and we just have to make the most of it to come back and hopefully even have a chance to win. “