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Mercedes considering engine penalty for Hamilton in Turkey

NEWS STORY
05/10/2021

Toto Wolff admits that this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix might be the best opportunity to give Lewis Hamilton his fourth power unit of the season.

With the world championship on a knife edge, as Toto Wolff admits "DNF-ing is a no go".

Red Bull was first to bite the bullet, giving Max Verstappen a new power unit in Russia which saw him start the race from the back of the grid.

Those crazy final laps saw the Dutchman and his team turn things around, claiming second, and 18 precious points, on a day they were expecting to finish no higher than fifth.

While the Mercedes has been bullet-proof, certainly as far as Lewis Hamilton is concerned, the German team isn't taking any chances. Though the Monza clash is Hamilton's only DNF of the season thus far, Toto Wolff is aware that neither of the title protagonists can afford a DNF in the remaining seven races.

"Neither driver and neither team can have any comfort in the current situation, because there is just no gap in terms of points," said the Austrian following last month's Russian Grand Prix, "and I think that this is going to go very long.

"Reliability versus performance is always the fine line that you need to get right," he added, "and as I said before, DNF-ing obviously is a no-go for the championship, and nobody, neither us nor our competitors can afford a zero-point race weekend."

Valtteri Bottas took on his fourth unit ahead of the Sochi weekend and subsequently took on a fifth - for strategic purposes, you understand - after qualifying. Teammate Hamilton is still on his third unit.

Asked if his team might use this weekend's race in Turkey to introduce a fourth engine for the Briton, Wolff told Sky Sports: "It's a possibility," before adding: "When, and how, is not yet decided.

"Most important is that you don't DNF because of a reliability issue," he admitted. "You can cope with swings, whether you finish second, third, I think that is OK, the championship is going to go long. But if you don't finish...

"So we are looking at the parameters of the engines, making sure we don't suffer from any reliability problems.

"Lewis has been tremendous there," he said of the Istanbul circuit, where Hamilton has won twice. "But we have to take each race at a time.

"It's so difficult, the cars are so close, I'm curious to see how this championship evolves," he added, in a masterpiece of understatement.

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1. Posted by kenji, 07/10/2021 0:09

"The second one taken in Russia was purported to be at 'no fault of the PU' but just a strategic move in order to place Bottas in front of Verstappen to hinder any rapid progress of the latter. What a fiasco, if that was the intent and Bottas rightly let Verstappen through easily as payback for the humiliation! If this was in fact the intended strategy, it ranks with Ferrari's broken gearbox seal on Massa's car at COTA in 2012!!! Desperate times equals desperate measures or so it seems."

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2. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 06/10/2021 19:10

"Thanks Pavlo. I thought it was 2 engines at Russia."

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3. Posted by Pavlo, 06/10/2021 18:16

"Bottas got one in Italy and one in Russia, diligently serving both penalties."

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4. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 06/10/2021 16:07

"Do you have to at least run 1 lap on the engine to be allowed to introduce it? They did add 2 engines to Bottas's pool at the last race I think. If that's the case that would naturally limit the number of engines you can introduce as it takes a lot of time to do swap engines, so a team probably can't add more than 2, maybe 3 engines tops. "

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5. Posted by noname33, 06/10/2021 11:20

"Someone will probably correct me, but as I remember it, you can't do that anymore.
Well, you can, but you will only get one fresh engine into the pool.
I think they stopped it after McLaren used to do it to get some "fresh" Honda engines in the pool."

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6. Posted by Kkiirmki, 05/10/2021 21:59

"No idea of the actual rule @ChickenFarmerF1, but I would assume there is one to stop them from doing this, otherwise, why not introduce 10 (or 20) engines to the "pool", if you know you're starting at the back of the grid regardless. I'm sure Red Bull would have taken advantage of this if it (rule) wasn't in there somewhere."

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7. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 05/10/2021 17:35

"Question: Is there anything in the rules to stop them from introducing 2 engines to Hamilton's "pool" in a single race weekend? Once you pay the penalty (starting from the back) for one, you might as well do two, as long as there's no additional effective penalty. At a minimum you could then turn up the power on each remaining engine knowing that the total mileage needed from each is less."

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