Lewis Hamilton has fitted a fresh Formula 1 engine that will see the seven-time world champion take a 10-place grid penalty for this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix.
Mercedes was deliberating whether it would decide for Hamilton to continue using his current power unit until the end of the season, at the risk he could suffer a failure in any of the final seven races.
The Brackley-based outfit also had to take into consideration where it would take an engine change to try and salvage a strong haul of points amid Hamilton’s title battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Team boss Toto Wolff admitted earlier in the week that Hamilton taking a grid penalty was a “possibility”, but stressed the impact a retirement could have on the Briton’s championship bid.
As a result, Hamilton has taken on a new internal combustion engine [ICE] that will see him drop 10 places from wherever he qualifies on Saturday.
Mercedes has elected to only change Hamilton’s ICE rather than a full change of engine components that would have seen him start at the back of grid on Sunday.
Hamilton had only two power unit’s of the three drivers are allocated to use over a season, with his first one reaching the end of its life after expiring in practice at the Dutch Grand Prix.
Title rival Verstappen took on a fresh engine at the previous round in Russia after he lost a power unit to crash damage from his high-speed collision with Hamilton at Silverstone.
Verstappen surged through the field from P20 to finish in second behind Hamilton in Sochi after a well-timed switch to intermediates during the late race downpour.
The Dutchman’s recovery saw him limit the damage to Hamilton in the championship standings, lying just two points behind the Mercedes driver coming into this weekend.
With Verstappen being a more comfortable position following his switch to a fourth engine, Mercedes opted to take no risks and take the grid penalty in Turkey.