Mercedes considering engine penalty for Hamilton in Turkey

05/10/2021
NEWS STORY

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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Published: 05/10/2021
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