Lewis Hamilton has submitted to Mercedes the idea of purposefully taking a double grid penalty in an upcoming race in order to create a pool of engine components to make his title bid more comfortable.
Engine regulations stipulate that each driver may use no more than five power units over the course of a championship year, with each unit consisting of six separate elements: the internal combustion engine (ICE), the motor generator unit-kinetic (MGU-K), the motor generator unit-heat (MGU-H), the energy store (ES), turbocharger (TC) and control electronics (CE).
Each driver is permitted to use only five of each of the above six elements during a championship season and any combination of them may be fitted to a car at any one time. Should a driver use more than five of any of the six power unit elements during the course of a season, a grid penalty will be imposed.
Hamilton, who is currently just one point behind team mate Nico Rosberg in the championship standings, has already used five turbochargers and five MGU-Hs this season, meaning any additional element from this batch would inevitably lead to a grid penalty.
Changing the components before they fail, at a venue of Mercedes’ choice, would perhaps offer the British driver a bit more risk flexibility in the all-important last stretch of the season.
“That’s a solution I’ve come up with myself,” Hamilton explained to Autosport.
“That would definitely be something that could be done. I’m definitely going to be taking another engine. It’s a question of when I take it.
While Hamilton says that the decision is ultimately his responsibility, his team’s input will be necessarily sought.
“The strategists will be looking at all the races and saying ‘This is a track where it is easier to overtake’.
“Ultimately it’s my decision because I’m the one who actually knows where I’ll be able to do the best job from last place.
“So I have to be strategic in how I decide that, but yeah, it would be nice to get a few engines in the pool at the same time.
“I hope at some stage I’m able to get some fresh ones, but the one I’m driving right now, hopefully, that will hold together for as long as possible.”
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