Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2016

Mercedes still seeking cause of Hamilton’s engine failure

2016 Malaysian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Mercedes are still trying to identify the cause of the engine failure which cost Lewis Hamilton a potential victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Executive director for technical Paddy Lowe said the team are “continuing to investigate the issue with his engine are doing everything we can to ensure that it is first understood and then contained for the remainder of the season”.

Lowe said one consequence of Hamilton’s retirement is that he and team mate Nico Rosberg are now in the same position in terms of available power units.

“As it stands, despite the failure of this engine, Lewis now has the same stock of power units as Nico for the remaining five races – including used power units which he can fit for free practice sessions. So, hopefully there will be no further impact to his programme.”

“Malaysia was a bitter pill to swallow,” Lowe added. “We let Lewis down in a big way.”

Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff said there was no apparent connection between the different failures Hamilton has experienced this year.

“We’ve talked amongst ourselves and said ‘how is this possible?’,” said Wolff. “But there is no rational explanation or pattern in these failures. If there were, we would resolve it.”

“We’ve had that discussion with him and he understands that we are feeling his pain too. Despite his frustration, he has been trying to pick the team up and we admire him even more than ever for that.”

“We will bounce back from this together. It’s tough when these things come at a crucial point in a championship battle. It’s a massive blow to his campaign. But the championship isn’t over yet.”

Hamilton goes into this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix 23 points behind Rosberg with 125 available from the remaining races.

2016 Malaysian Grand Prix

    Browse all Malaysian Grand Prix articles

    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    47 comments on “Mercedes still seeking cause of Hamilton’s engine failure”

    1. No rush boys at least Nico is there to take the title….

      1. Stirring the pot Damon? ;o)

    2. Please see tweet from Mercedes F1. https://twitter.com/mercedesamgf1/status/783250822255620096

      Bottom end failure of an engine is pretty terminal. We’re talking cylinder block, pistons, connecting rods, big end and small end bearings. That’s a nasty failure to have for it can mean anything from fabrication issues, materials issues to undiscovered design flaw. (I don’t count the last one otherwise the PU’s would be keeling over like flies.)

      1. And when one of those parts goes, it can rip the rest apart, making it hard to work out where the primary failure was and what’s just secondary damage.

        Given all the conspiracy talk I’m surprised no-one has noted that they haven’t ruled out Black Magic. The stewards should do a sweep of the circuit to check for cauldrons.

        1. @charleski black magic ain’t powerful enough to break the pistons lol

        2. petebaldwin (@)
          5th October 2016, 11:22

          Maybe that’s the “higher power” he’s going on about.

        3. Exactly. If they have sub assemblies bought from external companies, it could be an issue with one of those. A bad batch of metals used to fabricate the part. (I read in Ben Rich’s book about Lockheed Skunkworks they had a problem with rubber seals on aircraft windows failing. Turned out to be the chlorine content of the Burbank water supply causing premature failure.)

          The point is, this will take a while to figure out.

          1. if you know anything about manufacturing there is a function at the factory that is called “quality” something or other, they are responsible for making sure those items procured from outside are with in specification.

            the problem isn’t the motor, its a clear lapse in competence, and a very real lack of respect between Mercedes the team and Lewis Hamilton the Driver. Nobody else is having these problems, negligence is what is keeping this trend going.

      2. I saw a discussion between Peter Windsor and Craig Scarborough on this point and he mentioned that bottom end failures in F1 engines are relatively rare these days. It’s much more likely that something on the top end or the turbo would go instead.

    3. @charleski black magic ain’t powerful enough to break the pistons lol

      1. bad luck is political correctness, black magic is minimization.

    4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      5th October 2016, 11:23

      I just hope Hamilton realizes that other drivers at other teams last year with Mercedes power had a load of trouble with their engines. I don’t see what is that unusual about him being the 1st out of the 8 Mercedes power cars to blow up. If any does go wrong, one of them have to be first don’t they?
      When Lotus had Mercedes power last year, Mandonado had absolutely loads of engine problems that caused him to retire that were no fault of his own. He also didn’t even manage to finish any of the 1st six races due to problems with the car. At least half of the 1st 6 retirements for him were engine related issues. At least I’m pretty sure. I know that it is harder for Hamilton as he certainly is capable of winning the title but it really isn’t that unusual to have one engine blow up over this amount of races. Rosberg’s engine did this in Italy last year. IMO, other drivers seem to deal with either having technical problems or retiring from the race much better than Hamilton does. At first he only seems to think about himself and doesn’t seem to care for anyone else and that really shows.
      2 examples:
      In Monaco last year, when that mistake towards the end of the race happened and he finished in 3rd, he deliberately crashed into the post labeled 3rd under the podium when there was somebody stood behind it! He just didn’t seem to be thinking about what he could have ended up doing.

      Then in Spain this year when the 2 Mercedes drivers crashed, I noticed that Hamilton threw his steering wheel hard out the car in front of him narrowly missing a marshal. I mean how disrespectful is that?

      My main point is that I wish he would show that he appreciates what his team does for him. He does say that he does appreciate it but then he keeps coming out with these things that really make me wonder.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        5th October 2016, 11:31

        About the Monaco mistake, I mean mistake by the team. Hamilton didn’t do anything wrong during the race.

        1. @thegianthogweed it was confirmed back then that Hamilton played a part in that as well.

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            5th October 2016, 16:08

            Oh I didn’t realize he had anything to do with that.

            1. He didn’t have anything to do with it @thegianthogweed. He just asked for new tyres and the team got the maths wrong about the gap, with the transition from VSC to SC. There’s a school of thought the leading driver at Monaco didn’t care about losing track position, or was magically supposed to know the gap, but it’s obviously absurd.

      2. According to Toto Wolff he went to the team after the blow to lift them up @thegianthogweed.
        He’s no different than other drivers, just that you see Hamilton’s feelings in his behaviour. There are countless stories about drivers (and famous ones like Schumacher) shouting out of deception behind closed doors. And then, they look stoic in front of cameras.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          5th October 2016, 11:41

          Yea I know but I just think most of the current drivers on the grid control their anger and frustration better than Hamilton.

          1. Maybe because most drivers on the grid don’t know what it’s like to fight for an F1 world championship.

            1. Kimi has fought for an F1 world championship and lost at least 1 due to technical failures.

              Alonso has fought for an F1 world championship.

              Vettel has fought for an F1 world championship.

              Button had fought for an F1 world championship.

              Rosberg hasn’t won but has fought for an F1 world championship.

              And oh yeah, just about every other driver is a world champion from junior categories.

              What was that you were saying sweetheart?

            2. Erm….You’ve just named 5 drivers out of 22 and think that’s ‘most’? Not only that, but you haven’t seen Vettel/Alonso/Raikonnen moaning about their equipment? “GP2 ENGINE!!!” “SHUT UP I KNOW WHAT IM DOING!!!”

              Do you watch F1 on mute by any chance, sweet-heart?

          2. Yes you dislike him, thus you read the worst. We get that.

          3. @thegianthogweed really? Did you see Ricciardo talking about being screwed up? Monaco do You remember, it wasn’t even a DNF.

          4. GP2 engine, GP2………..

            Point is at least Hamilton wears his heart on his sleeve, I prefer to see more emotion manifest in a sportsperson.

          5. While I sometimes find Hamilton a bit exasperating, I don’t care for everyone in F1 keeping it all behind closed doors so we never see any emotion @thegianthogweed; in which case we might as well have no media access to anyone except the PR-staff, because it won’t give us anything interesting anyway. The drivers should be the fastest and canniest on track, and not be selected first on things like media savvy.

          6. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            5th October 2016, 15:08

            I understand that all drivers will have moments like this. But not that many have recently done things similar to what Hamilton has in my 2 points I made. Alonso may show his frustration by what he says. I don’t mind this as much. It is when they start doing silly things like what Hamilton did at the end of Monaco last year and what he did in Spain this year.

            I’m sure other drivers will have done this over the years but Hamilton seems to be one of the few that does these particular sort of things much more than others. I just think he needs to stay more calm and control himself better.

            I mean particularly with the incident in Spain. I know he was frustrated but when he threw his steering wheel out the car, the Marshal actually had to step back to avoid getting hit by it. IMO, that is very disrespectful of him towards both the team and the marshal. It is an expensive piece of equipment and he could well have damaged it.

            @abdelilah, I understand that Ricciardo was really frustrated during Monaco this year and he didn’t sound very happy on the radio and nor did he look happy on the podium which was understandable. However, he didn’t do what Hamilton did last year in Monaco. Ricciardo seemed to hold his anger in much better. He didn’t bump into his finishing post below the podium when there was somebody stood behind it unlike Hamilton. Hamilton to me seems to only think about himself when these sorts of things happen.

            1. ” understand that Ricciardo was really frustrated during Monaco this year and he didn’t sound very happy on the radio and nor did he look happy on the podium which was understandable. However, he didn’t do what Hamilton did last year in Monaco.”

              So was Hamilton not frustrated too? So why are you giving Ricciardo a pass for being frustrated at losing a race he should’ve won, but criticizing Lewis for showing his frustration for a race he too should have won? BTW, he did not knock over the marker, he nudged it forward. I hope the next time a driver hits a marker be it after a win or a loss, you offer the same level of criticism

            2. Senna crashes and locks himself in his Monaco apartment – LEGEND

              Kimi’s merc engine detonates itself (again) in Monaco and he walks to his yacht and slams a magnum of champagne on live TV – LEGEND

              Lewis parks his car on the side of the track and didn’t want to go to the podium ceremony, has to be reminded by paddy that he needs to return the car to parc ferme, then cries on the podium – LEGEND?

            3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
              5th October 2016, 20:07

              Kgn11 I am replying from both your posts from 12:56 and 16:00.

              I did said that Hamilton does praise the team and appreciate what they do but then as I mentioned, he quite often suddenly comes out with something that is completely the opposite. That was what made me wonder if he really meant what he has said before. But I assume it will just be his frustration for that period in time. He always gets over it I suppose by the time the next races comes.
              One of my main points was when he threw his steering wheel out of the car in Spain narrowly missing a marshal, that was rather disrespectful to both the team and the marshal and I don’t see how you can’t agree with me there. He shouldn’t be allowed to do things like that just because he is angry. Not that he is the only driver who has done this in the past few years.

              About your other post, I know that Hamilton will have also been frustrated in Monaco last year and I never said that he knocked his post over. I said he crashed into it when there was somebody stood behind it. Maybe crashed is the wrong word but that is still worse than Ricciardo just complaining to the team. And yes, if it is completely avoidable, I will always think it is unreasonable to bump into the finishing post when someone is behind it, no matter what driver it is. From what I remember, the commentators on the BBC thought it wasn’t a sensible thing to do.

              Also, @fer-no65 pointed out that Hamilton was partly to blame for finishing 3rd in Monaco that year.

              Anyway, it is quite clear that we probably won’t fully agree on all this so we may as well leave it as I think it is maybe going a little too off topic. I can blame myself for that though.

            4. ^^^ +1 TO THIS! ^^^

              Sorry ‘The duke’, I cant reply to your message on that 3rd level post, but I totally like your last couple of messages! ;o)

            5. @Kgn11

              “Nudged”? Who are you kidding, Lewis was knee deep in one of his temper tantrums by the time he SMASHED the marker – the toys were already laying on the side of the crib. He had already parked his car before the tunnel having a moan and not replying to his Team Principal on the radio – childish. He needed to be reminded to return the car to parc ferme otherwise face disqualification, ignoring all the hard work put in by the team members, ignoring the royal family who should at least deserve the podium finishers showing up to the ceremony, ignoring the fans who also deserved that podium ceremony – childish. THEN he smashed the marker board, that was not a gentle nudge as you’re so desperate to paint it as….

              Then pouty face and ignoring the hosts at the podium ceremony – childish.

              And you’re right, I agree with you, any driver who throws a tantrum and smashes a marker board is pathetic – lewis included.

              Let’s face it, all F1 drivers are diva’s, it’s just how much of a diva they are that separates them. Dan R is on one side of the spectrum, the least diva. Lewis is the other bookend, the reference point if you will, for biggest diva.

            6. Political correctness, judging people left and right, calling out for censorship, begging for authority and more rules, this is why F1 really sucks. And its’ not just the show, its the whole package.

      3. “My main point is that I wish he would show that he appreciates what his team does for him. He does say that he does appreciate it but then he keeps coming out with these things that really make me wonder”

        Then maybe you should listen to him properly before and after every race, whereby he praises the team and his mechanics. But i guess by doing that, would take away your opportunity to accuse him of being ‘ungrateful’

        1. “Then maybe you should listen to him properly before and after every race” – we don’t need to listen to every word falling out of lewis’s mouth, you’re already doing that for us…

          But what “WE” can do, is understand that when Lewis praises his team before and after every race, thats standard robotic statements every driver gives… and for the most part probably means.

          However, when we get a diva such as Lewis, who can’t hold anything back, we get statements like he mad accusing “someone” of conspiring against him.

          Thats the real Lewis. You unfortunately won’t ever know him.

        2. I am afraid you are wasting your energy trying to convince people who believe in confirmation bias as a means of getting through adversity (cognitive dissonance).

          You don’t need to defend Lewis, they have no moral authority to speak of, trust me. All YOU have to do is think critically and understand what is really being said, and why it is being said, its all very evident and obvious, the show, and the shadows.

    5. if you lot were fighting for a wdc and your engine blew up at a crucial moment in the season,youd be fuming too.
      and dont forget he has missed 3 Q3s because of mechanical issues,plus he had to recover from a 43 point deficit.
      and now this problem to try and overcome,with only 5 races left.if he had of won the race,he’d only need to win 3 of the remaining 5 to guarantee a fourth wdc,now he has to win all 5 races,which is not going to happen.

    6. I thought the cause was a higher power?

      1. Perhaps it’s the driver that is at fault?????????

    7. “In2012 LH just misses title re ups with Mclaren Nico is 3x WC (I just threw up). Or LH joins Merc adds 2 titles and history will always tell us he beat 3wc as teamates.

    8. I think Hamilton’s very natural reactions to failure are an indication of how much it means to him to succeed and it’s those very emotions that drive champions like him to win, and everyone is different. Like some other posters here, I find Hamilton’s reactions ‘human’. Remember what that feels like? Nearly all of our F1 ‘legends’ have had their moments, both off and on camera. Who can forget Schumacher trying to strangle David Coultard at Spa, or Nelson Piquet headbutting another driver out on circuit, the list is endless. However, Christian Horner actually came up with the most plausible reason for Hamilton’s engine failure. Red Bull put so much pressure on the Mercedes that they overreached their safety margin. I believe it’s as simple as that and those that think Mercedes can romp away from the opposition at will have just had an object lesson in classic F1 (or any motor race come to that) strategy – chase them hard until they blow up. Years ago in endurance racing, teams entered a “rabbit”. A very fast car with no hope of going the distance, but who’s sole purpose was to ‘break’ the opposition..

      Of course, we have much more reliability than we used to but it doesn’t mean that the winners aren’t on the ragged edge and vulnerable to attack.

      1. Very sensible viewpoint!
        And agreed, we think the Merc PU is non-stoppable. But that is not so. Running such engine just a few nudges above ‘calculated race mode max’ will shorten lifetime expectancy dramatically. We often hear race engineers both for Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari say to their drivers that they are not allowed to switch to push mode or only give them allowance to run it for a couple of laps.

      2. @baron Well a big fat kudos to Renault, sorry, TAG Heuer for building an engine that can sustain chasing down the ultra dominant Mercedes and go on to produce a 1 2 for the team!

        More likely, this was a mechanical flaw – it could be said this was exposed due to Red Bull pressure, but you know, methinks that unlikely.

        Just bad luck.

        1. You were right the first time – Renault, anything else is badge engineering. Unfortunately, none of the other manufacturers are close enough to regularly pressure Merc but next year may be a different story. We can but hope.

      3. But yet it was reported that he ran the race in the same engine mode and not turned it up. So the theory of it blowing because of the imaginary pressure from Red Bull, is a joke.

    9. I have the inside scoop on hamiltons engine.

      It no longer wanted to be an engine, it wants to be a bbq! It even gave an aussie the win!!!

    Comments are closed.