Mercedes says engine swaps will “pay dividends” in next races

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes has served several engine swap grid penalties in the last few races, but Motorsport Strategy Director James Vowles says it will actually “pay dividends across the next few races”.

At the Turkish Grand Prix Mercedes swapped Lewis Hamilton’s engine and he served a ten-place grid penalty. At the US Grand Prix Valtteri Bottas had a third engine swap in the last four races.

James Vowles explains these swaps were necessary because a DNF “would be catastrophic for the championship”.

“We are balancing performance versus reliability to the end of the season,” Vowles said in Mercedes’ race debrief.

“One failure to finish a race, be it because of a chassis or power unit fault, would be catastrophic for the championship.

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”And as a result of that, we are managing that in the best way possible to the end of the year.”

The Briton also explains that the swaps will ultimately help Mercedes in the closing stages of the championship.

“In the case of Valtteri, it meant taking one further ICE to make sure we had absolutely the best compromise.

“As to whether it improved his performance, yes, a small amount but it is more about the balance across the remainder of the season than one event.

“So, this change, as painful as it was during the Austin Grand Prix, will actually pay dividends across the next few races,” concluded Mercedes’ chief strategist.

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