The FIA issued a new technical directive that mandates just a single engine mode per race weekend, colloquially known as the “party mode” ban.
The new directive will prevent teams from employing engine “qualifying modes” to derive the best lap time on Saturday. The ban will be instituted from this week’s Italian Grand Prix onward.
It is widely believed the ban was put in place to prevent Mercedes from gaining a significant advantage in qualifying by using multiple engine modes during the race weekend.
Lewis Hamilton doesn’t believe the FIA will be successful in slowing Mercedes down.
“I’ve spoken to the engine crew,” said Hamilton.
“I know the implications of the rule that’s come in to try and take away… to try to slow us down but I don’t think it’s really going to make big difference.
“Of course, we are confident that whatever is thrown at us we go to the drawing board, we hash it out, we communicate, we delegate and then we execute it. That’s what we do.
“Keep throwing the punches and we will do our best to return back just as hard,” concluded the Briton.
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Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says the team will accept the ban “as good sportsmen”.
“I think first of all the FIA has really struggled to look at all the data channels,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1.
“These power units have become tremendously complicated. We wanted to be policeable for them and so coming from that side, it was probably a good call for them [to ban party mode].
“But then on the other side, when you are running away with the World Championship and you are winning every pole position, everybody is going to gang up on you. All the other teams, all the other stakeholders. I think that is normal.
“I think it will hurt us in a certain respect because we have developed the engine to be really good in qualifying. It comes really close to its limit.
“I really need to take my hat off to everybody at Brixworth who made that engine. I think slowing us down is a little bit annoying because it somehow doesn’t give enough credit to the unbelievable job everybody has done at HPP (High Performance Powertrains), especially in respect of last year when we were pushed to the end of our power.
“But it is what it is. It [banned elements] has existed in Formula 1 for a quite a while. I remember Red Bull got the blown diffuser taken off them. But we’ll take it as good sportsmen and still try to do a good job.”
Wolff also explained Mercedes’ mindset when it comes to “politics” played in F1.
“First of all, the mindset that we have is to take the things you say as a compliment but not really believe them.
“If you would follow our debriefings you would think we were talking about a team that had a terrible weekend, and I think this is very much the mindset within the team.
“And then of course ‘team’ means people. The group of people that have come together on this journey in Brixworth, in Brackley, and all the support we have in Stuttgart.
“Living to our values, really having a no-blame culture, no politics, no internal politics, and the trust that has been built up over the years.
“If you take Formula 1 not too seriously, but you remember it’s a sport, it’s not real politics, then you can go to a race with a certain easiness without being complacent,” concluded the Austrian.