Mercedes have been a shadow of the team that has claimed seven consecutive constructors championships, as the German giants have struggled on several fronts this season. On the racing tracks, Mercedes have been put under tremendous pressure by their fierce rivals, Red Bull, whereas, their engine issues continue to take a toil on their resources this season.
Valtteri Bottas has taken a handful of engine-change grid penalties so far, which has resulted in several lost opportunities for Mercedes. Now, Lewis Hamilton is all set to serve his second grid penalty for taking his fifth Internal Combustion Engine [ICE] for the season. However, unlike the 10-place penalty last time around, he will only serve a 5-place penalty in Brazil.
Toto Wolff revealed that Mercedes have had all sorts of engine issues this seasons, with degradation on their engine expected to continue until the end of the season.
“We have degradation on the engine. And that is going to continue until the end of the season. It will continue to decrease in power and we haven’t yet realised why that is but we are just seeing it [the numbers] creep down,” said Wolff as quoted by PlanetF1.
Toto Wolff hopes it would be Lewis’ last ICE for the season
Toto Wolff stated that it was ideal for Mercedes to take an engine penalty this week with the sprint race being held on Saturday. Moreover, the Austrian revealed that with the current engine, they could not have competed in Saudi Arabia or even Abu Dhabi. He refused to provide more details on the same, as he prefers to keep things confidential.
“We hope [taking the penalty here] is a good opportunity with the sprint race and the Saudi Arabia race, too, as we think by then the motor is going to lose more power – so in terms of our simulations here is the right place to do it. I think this final one [new ICE] we will need to take for Lewis’ car,” he added.
Max Verstappen leads the championship race going into the final four races of the season, with a healthy 19-point lead over Lewis Hamilton. As far as the constructors championship is concerned, two double podiums have ensured that Red Bull have cut Mercedes’ lead to just one point.