Mercedes explains why Hamilton didn’t swap his entire power unit

© Daimler AG

Mercedes Chief Technical Officer James Allison explains why Lewis Hamilton only took on a new ICE in Turkey, and not all seven power unit components.

At the Turkish Grand Prix Mercedes decided to give Lewis Hamilton a new Internal Combustion Unit, hopefully his last of the season, which triggered a ten-place grid penalty.

However, had he taken on all seven of the power unit components, he would have started the race from the back of the grid, like Max Verstappen did in Russia.

In Mercedes’ Turkish Grand Prix debrief James Allison explained why the ICE swap was enough.

“I’m going to get to the answer of that but I need to just give a bit of background first,” the Briton said.

“The so-called power unit, the entire device that propels the car forward is made up of seven different components.

“The ICE, the Internal Combustion Engine, the Turbo, the MGU-H, the MGU-K, the Energy Store, that’s the battery, the Control Electronics that go with it, and the Exhaust System – that’s seven elements.

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“Each of those seven elements you are allowed limited quantities in an entire championship. If you replace any of those seven elements above the maximum that you are allowed, then you take a penalty and you take a 10-place penalty for each of the elements that exceeds its permitted number.

“In our car we know that it is going to be a challenge to get to the end of the year with the Internal Combustion Engines that Lewis had, the three that he is permitted.

“So we had to choose a moment where it was judicious for us to introduce a new one to give us a good shot at running to the end of the championship in good shape.

“Now, we could of course have replaced the entire power unit, but if you do that then you are replacing each of those seven elements, taking ten places for the first and then 10 places for the second and then of course you are at the back of the grid.

“So, the moment you take more than two elements you are at the back and you might as well take all the others to go with it.

“But in our case the area that we wanted to give the maximum amount of reassurance to us over the remaining part of the season was the Internal Combustion Engine,” concluded Allison.

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