Lewis Hamilton will serve a five-place grid penalty in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, due to receiving his fifth Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) of the year.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff explains the swap was necessary as the engine was degrading too rapidly.
“We feel that we can score more points [by swapping the ICE in Brazil],” Wolff said after FP1.
“We have deg [degradation] on the engine that until the end of the season is just going to continue to decrease in power and we haven’t yet realised why that is, but we are just seeing it creep down.
“Without going into specifics, every engine is degrading and we’ve seen that over the past years over 1,000 kilometres there is a certain amount of kilowatts that the engine is degrading.
“And ours is just degrading much more than in the average of the past years and that increases from weekend to weekend.
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“If we keep the engine we are going to for sure not going to be competitive in Saudi and Abu Dhabi.”
The Austrian confirms Lewis now has two engines in the pool, but he doesn’t expect another swap will be needed in 2021.
Although Lewis will have to start Sunday’s race from P6 at best, Wolff believes there he is still in the fight for a race win.
“Yes, definitely. I think we have good straight-line speed, we’ve seen that today, so that gives us a little bit of a potential.
“But I’d rather start right at the front of the race than needing to catch up and pass some of the cars that we have seen. We were not able to pass the McLaren [in Mexico].
“I’m happy they have a great engine, but it didn’t help us in Mexico,” concluded Wolff.