Mercedes not sure what caused Hamilton engine failure

Mercedes says they still aren’t sure what the cause of Lewis Hamilton’s engine failure in the Malaysian Grand Prix is and the cynical side of me suggests that even if they did know, would they tell the public? If I were a team boss and there may be a weak link or vulnerability in our engineering or program, I’m not sure I would broadcast that to the world.

The fact is, Mercedes is letting Lewis down with the technical issues and failures he’s had over the course of this season. Regardless of Lewis’s reaction to these setbacks, Mercedes is the least common denominator in the failure chain unless Lewis is doing something that stresses or promotes a lack of car sympathy.

To be honest, I’m not sure anyone has ever suggested that he is or even whispered the concept and nor have I seen anything from the sidelines that would suggest he is being too hard on his kit but there is that possibility and Red Bull’s Helmut Marko suggested that it was the pressure they were applying to Lewis that made his car fail as he was pushing it too hard. Sounds good in the press but I’m not buying it hook, line and sinker because I believe Mercedes has pace and power in reserve. Toto Wolff said:

“We are doing everything we can to ensure that it is first understood and then contained for the remainder of the season.

“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.”

“There is no rational explanation or pattern in these failures. If there were, we would resolve it.”

Exploiting the loophole in the engine change penalty rules in Belgium now has been reduced to the same remaining resources for both drivers which negated much of the penalty incurred at the Belgian Grand Prix. That’s not doing Lewis any favors and there is no doubt he isn’t happy about it, I wouldn’t be either. He finished third at Spa and limited the damage but imagine if he didn’t have to take that penalty at all…where would he have finished?

While #TeamLH are leveling conspiracy at Mercedes, I’m not a fan of that idea even if Lewis was vague on who may be preventing him from winning in the press. Too many people involved in the program for silly sabotage shenanigans. I’m also not beyond the concept that drivers have internal fans and other employees that may, over time, become less enthusiastic about a particular driver. That can be down to just personalities etc. IF a certain person seems less than apoplectic over Lewis’s mechanical issues within Mercedes, maybe they aren’t Lewis’s biggest fan for whatever reason. Still, sabotaging a car is a stretch even if you consider the Nigel Stepney/Ferrari white powder saga.

The point is, Lewis is delivering on track. Of that fact, there is very little question and Mercedes needs to deliver off track as well. Same goes for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel, Renault and Jolyon Palmer, Williams and Valtteri Bottas, McLaren and Fernando Alonso. Technical issues happen but for Mercedes, they are rare and happening too often for Lewis in 2016. The cycle does ebb and flow like that though and there is a history to show that it does in Formula 1.


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Peter Riva

May I suggest an alternative reason? Hamilton may be using the engine in a different way than Nico is, less smooth. I do not know the technicalities, but i remember a long discussion from Derek Bell discussing how they choose co-drivers… something like “the key ingredient is finding someone who is quick but drives the car the same way the other two drivers do. So you pick the main driver and match to that.”


Eight Mercedes powered cars and only one driver having failures, must be sabotage, thats the only logical explanation.

Salvu Borg

what I know is that when number 44 engine gave up it was being used in free load mode/race start 3/max power boost. that on lap 48 message from Mercedes to Rosberg about his engine, Not allowed to access start mode 3/free load mode/max power boost to maintain his podium. 2 laps later they decided 2 laps of start mode 3/free load mode/max power boost was good to go, but no more.


Interesting, how do you know what power setting number 44 was using?

Paul KieferJr

So, to play armchair detective, what exactly would cause an engine to fail the way it did with Hamilton? (We’ll probably need MIE for this.)


Mercedes have now said low oil pressure through turn 15 that contributed to main bearing failure.

So perhaps Hamilton’s ICE was using too much oil for whatever reason, and through the last corner there was a problem with oil pick-up?


Given that after taking the penalties in Spa Hamilton had three complete power units to see him to the end of the season and Rosberg only had two. I would be stunned if Mercedes didn’t allow Hamilton to push his power units harder than Rosberg. It is plain when their power units are turned up in qualifying (the times in Q3 being so much faster than the earlier sessions). If one driver has that additional performance available as his power unit only needs to last three race weekends compared to four or five for his team-mate, why wouldn’t he be… Read more »

Salvu Borg

FIA rules says power unit supplied to customers “hardware” must be the same. but the FIA does not oblige power unit manufacturers to supply the same power unit “software”.


This latest failure is party the reason is just a long line of events that keeps people questioning Mercedes. People are suggesting Hamilton was pushing his engine too much. We don’t know for a fact what strat mode he was using but team confirmed they were pushing for a free pit stop. Think about that for a second. This isn’t Monaco and Mercedes has at least a half to 1 second pace advantage over Red Bull. Max was never a serious threat because had he gone to the end without a pit stop, he would be limping home while Hamilton… Read more »


MB. You have to love these people even though they are German. Always being Mercedes-Benz and always being politically correct. With the complexity of these cars and over 1000 people that work on them, do you really think they dont know why the engine took the big shitter? Do you really think they dont know why Massa has used 3 engines and Lewis is on his 7th. They know exactly what is going on down to the last fahrenheit. I just want to know, when are they going to start billing Lewis for screwing up all there engines.


We have seen that Hamilton is ‘gutted’ by the engine failure, and is chucking the team under the bus. However, how ‘gutted’ must the Mercedes management and team be? They’d have been expecting to secure their third Constructors championship in front of their main sponsors, instead had a firey failure, a third and a Red Bull 1 – 2.
Managing a sulky driver must be an extra headache they don’t need.


Fantastic series of results for Red Bull, but just to push my own conspiracy theory, if Renault have only used three tokens, and in a RBR that mildly upgraded P.U can out run Ferrari and run with Mercedes, was the p.u the reason for RBR’s poor performance in the last two seasons. The truth should be told!