Lewis Hamilton has had a part in his engine replaced which gives him a ten spot penalty for Sunday’s race. Mercedes chooses to replace only the combustion engine instead of the entire engine.
Andrew Shovlin of Mercedes tells to Motorsport-Total that the team has considered replacing the entire engine. An investigation revealed that only the combustion engine was in bad shape and that it could not be guaranteed that it would make it to the end of the season. The other parts within Hamilton’s power source turned out to be able to keep up.
In front of SkySports cameras, Shovlin explains: “There is balance and risk of reliability issues. What you definitely don’t want to do is run into a failure in a GP and then get a penalty. Then there’s the performance element, because the power unit loses horsepower over its lifetime.”
Because it was decided to only change the combustion engine, the seven-time world champion does not have to start from behind. It does give Hamilton a grid penalty of ten places. Normally, this can be made up for in the race, for example, it is usually fine to overtake on the circuit in Turkey. Mercedes also does not expect that more parts from the engine will have to be replaced. For the remaining seven races, Hamilton has a relatively new engine and therefore a repaired one.
During the first free practice, Mercedes seems to have a very strong package. Often a Grand Prix is chosen where the car is not strong to take grid penalties. “Finding out how easy it is to overtake on a particular track is difficult. In your own head you know which circuits are good to pass. Sochi has a long straight, but we had some understeer, which made it difficult there Hamilton felt there were a lot of opportunities here,” said Shovlin.