Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Istanbul Park, 2021

Red Bull believe Hamilton’s engine change was forced rather than tactical

2021 Turkish Grand Prix

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Mercedes had no choice but to replace Lewis Hamilton’s engine this weekend due to their reliability concerns, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes.

Hamilton has been given a 10-place grid penalty after exceeding his maximum allocation of three internal combustion engines this weekend. The Mercedes driver said on Thursday he still had two useable power units, but Horner believes Mercedes had to make the change he did.

“I think it was probably, from what we understand, more of a forced choice rather than a selected choice,” Horner told Sky. “We’ve seen they’ve had issues with some of their other teams as well.” Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas is on his fifth power unit while Williams-Mercedes driver Nicholas Latifi had his fourth fitted at the last weekend.

“It doesn’t affect us and what we’re doing but it shows how tight and tough it is to get to the end of the season on three engines, that neither of us have managed,” Horner continued. “Hopefully we can do it on four.”

Both Red Bull drivers have already exceeded their maximum allocation of power unit parts having suffered damage in crashes earlier in the year. Horner is hopeful their decision to change complete units will pay off.

“You can do all the sims and modelling you like and then something variable happens,” he said. “There’s no such thing as total stability of a situation like you have in a simulated world, to the end of the year. There could be other twists and turns in this. Let’s wait and see.

“Obviously we’ve taken a penalty, we’ve put ourselves into a good position. We’ve taken the additional parts as well, the battery, the MGU-K, the H. Lewis has just taken the ICE, the combustion, that obviously is less of a penalty but it’s still going to put a lot of stress on those other components to the end of the year.”

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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...

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14 comments on “Red Bull believe Hamilton’s engine change was forced rather than tactical”

  1. Christian Horner: like his missus, if you ignore him long enough eventually he goes away…..

  2. Oh just change the limit to 2 engines per race. What’s the big deal?

    Dropping special ‘qualifying’ engines I understand – they used to be 3-lap grenades. (Fun to watch though)

    But this is farcical in the name of reducing cost; probably not reducing cost at all (since the cost of engineering greater reliability into the equation is not trivial), but the penalties are certainly taking away from competition.

    1. With the budget cap coming in, as well as the engine development freeze, there really is no reason to keep an engine cap around. Small teams already pay a fixed amount for their engines, so that’s not a concern either. It’s rather weird to keep a limit of 3 regardless of the amount of races, as well. We’re up to 23 races and more incoming, yet the engine allocation is the same is it was when there were 20 races.

      The penalties distract from a clean competition, and it just really is unnecessary. Do away with them.

      1. I must be the only one but I like these penalties, they bring interesting recoveries, you’ve seen that hamilton and verstappen don’t last long next to each other anyway.

  3. Nah, I think Mercedes just thought they’d like to start near the back this weekend… obviously it’s forced on them.

    What a pointless article.

    1. This could have been a tactical change – perhaps they thought Max would win this weekend anyway so have added another engine to the pool allowing them to run higher settings for the remainder of the season… You know, exactly what they claim they did with Bottas last weekend!

      Horner is saying he thinks this was forced which has ramifications for the rest of the season. If their other engines can’t be used anymore, he has to protect this one a bit more and if he has a shunt, he’d have to take another penalty to use an additional engine.

    2. You obviously missed the point, forced as in it wasn’t a decision they took to store 1 more power unit like they did with bottas, but they must’ve noticed some problem.

    3. So ofc it’s a pointless article if you miss its point!

      1. I missed nothing @esploratre1

        The facts are Mercedes took a penalty because they needed to. That’s completely clear. They wouldn’t take a penalty in a WDC fight if they didn’t need to would they? Why do we need articles on what RedBull think about it? It’s obvious to anyone with a brain that Mercedes were forced to, no one would start 11th at best by choice.

    4. Ain’t it. Reminds me of an article on here about Mark Webber saying “You need to win races to win the championship” or something like that. Absolute loose stool water.

      1. Just Horner running is mouth…..again.

    5. Montréalais (@)
      9th October 2021, 6:45

      Our friend Tom doesn’t like Keith’s articles. I suggest he might entertain the idea of writing his own…

  4. If it was forced it was yet another stroke of luck as they seem to be dominent here now on the new grippy surface, so that should be an easy podium.

  5. Which races Ham used each of his components? Is it there anywhere? He must race for 7 races with this ICE. A few components way above that. And Vers?

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