With the world champion team concerned about the risks of reliability failure in the latter stages of the championship, it chose to fit Hamilton with a fresh internal combustion Drive the Turkish Grand Prix this weekend.
Choosing to change just one component means that Hamilton will receive a 10-place grid penalty instead of the drop in the rear of the grid that would have come from switching the full power unit.
Talk about why mercedes Andrew Shovlin, the team’s director of track engineering, said he didn’t go to make a full switch, feeling the full change wouldn’t have provided the benefits needed to justify it.
“We are simulating all the races until the end of the year,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“There is a balance and risk with the issue of reliability, obviously the thing you definitely don’t want to do is fail during the race and then you have to take a penalty anyway.
“Then there is also the performance component because the power units lose quite a bit of horsepower over their life.
“The 10 place penalty is the most important part of the reliability and performance component being ICE itself, so it is better to take 10 places than to start from the back.”
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12
Photography: Zach Moger / motorsports pictures
While Mercedes can still choose to add more new components later this weekend, especially if Hamilton doesn’t qualify high enough in the grid, Schuvelin doesn’t think it will just overtake the ICE.
“It’s really unlikely,” he said. “There’s a lot of somewhat intrusive work when you start changing some of these elements over the race weekend, so we’re very happy with the decision we’ve made so far and that’s probably about what we’re going to stick with.”
Although the Valtteri Bottas Struggling to move up the rankings after the grid dropped in Sochi, Shovlin hopes Istanbul will offer better chances for Hamilton.
He is also aware of the fact that the world champion put up a great resistance during his GP2 outing here in 2006 when he recovered from a spin that took him 19th to finish second.
“Knowing how easy it is to pass is very difficult because you know in your mind what are the good lanes to pass,” he explained.
“Sochi had a very long straight but we were struggling with the bottom line which made it difficult. But this is a circuit, you will remember Lewis in GP2 where he felt there was a lot of opportunity here, so it should be done for an exciting Sunday.”
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