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Mercedes confirms strategic engine change: 'Want them in the pool for Abu Dhabi'

Mercedes confirms strategic engine change: 'Want them in the pool for Abu Dhabi'

17-11-2021 16:15 Last update: 17:15


Mercedes appear to have developed a remarkable new tactic by providing drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas with new internal combustion engines, and in doing so deliberately incurring grid penalties. Chief engineer Andrew Shovlin confirms that Hamilton's engine change in Brazil was not out of technical necessity and was therefore a strategic decision.

It may not quite fit the sustainable picture Formula 1 wants to paint of itself, but it does give Mercedes a strong strategy behind it in the battle with Red Bull Racing. The Brazilian Grand Prix showed that, with Hamilton's new internal combustion engine setting a pace that was inimitable.

Mercedes confirms engine change was a strategic decision

In the Formula 1 Nation podcast, Shovlin confirms that the engine change was a purely strategic decision. "There was no technical reason," he explains. "We didn't see any risk of the power unit failing, although the engines run very hard and you can never take reliability for granted."

"Taking a grid penalty in a sprint race is tempting because on Saturday you can make up for any points lost by winning. In addition, we were hopeful that overtaking was possible at this track and that was proven in both races," continued the Briton.

However, when deciding to switch to a new ICE, Mercedes also looked at the last three races of the season. "You want to have those engines in your pool, so you have something left at your disposal in Abu Dhabi. You can't take advantage of them for more than one race," Shovlin concluded.

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