Despite the tactical change from Hamilton in the Turkish GP, there is still a slight possibility that he may need another change of engine.
At the Turkish GP, Lewis Hamilton was at the receiving end of a 10 place grid penalty as he needed to install a new internal combustion engine in his power unit. This resulted in him just managing P5 at the Turkish GP and he ended up handing back the lead of the world championship to Max Verstappen, though the gulf between the two is just 6 points. Mercedes is not ruling out a fifth power unit for Hamilton, depending on the points battle against Verstappen. Hamilton had previously spoken of his hope of getting to the end of the season without a new engine, but now Mercedes officials say the decision in Istanbul was not a tactical one.
“With our car, we knew it was going to be a challenge to get to the end of the year with the internal combustion engines Lewis had. So we had to choose a judicious moment to give us a good shot of making it to the end of the season,” Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison explained.
“Of course we could have replaced the entire power unit, but then you have to replace all seven elements. For the first element you get ten places and for the second as well, so then you’re already at the back of the grid,” Allison explained the reasoning behind not changing the full power unit.
At the Russian GP, even Max Verstappen had to endure a 20 place grid penalty as he changed his entire Honda power unit. But Verstappen, despite the penalty managed to come P2 behind Hamilton who won that race. But despite the tactical change from Hamilton in the Turkish GP, there is still a slight possibility that he may need another change of engine.
“I would very much hope not, but it’s seven tough races that are in front of us,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
“Let’s see how the points pan out. I would never say no, but normally four engines is good – it looks quite sufficient,” he added.
“It’s just we’ve seen over the course of the season that we had some little gremlins, that we weren’t completely sure where they came from, and how much performance they could potentially cost. We’d rather have a new engine in the pool, that we understand, that can possibly go longer,” Wolff explained.
Wolf admitted that there were some “unusual noises” coming from Hamilton’s engine before the change. He added that Mercedes, who has been known to be reliable and high-performance, with high speed in the hybrid era, is analysing how to prevent such an incident in the future. Hamilton’s new internal combustion engine was the fourth of the season, one more than is permitted in the regulations.