Mercedes upgrades engines, Lewis takes two for Spa

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Having won 43 of the last 50 Formula races, Mercedes has redefined the word domination and perhaps much of the doldrums that come with domination of this sort has been muted due to the intra-team battle between drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.

The battle has been heated at times and it’s created some excitement, meanwhile, Mercedes have claimed pole position in 47 of the last 50 grands prix. They’ve won 11 of the 12 races so far this season and that doesn’t look set to change any time soon.

Leading Free Practice 1 in this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps, Mercedes did so with a new engine upgrade. The customer teams will also have a new upgraded engine available to them when they make their next engine changes.

The teams have been developing their engines throughout the first half of the season with both Ferrari and Honda spending 29 tokens leaving them just three to use for the second half of season. Honda brought significant changes this weekend spending seven tokens.

Interestingly, Renault have only spent 11 tokens so far this year and have 21 remaining. The big gains were manifest in Red Bull’s seriously increase in performance from Canada onwards and they outscored Ferrari and taken second in the constructor’s championship in the last four races. One wonders just what magic they will find should they spend the rest of their tokens.

Lewis Hamilton, taking full advantage of the written rules, has taken all his lumps for the early season mechanical failures that put him behind in the championship until reliability returned and he claimed wins in six of the last seven races and heads to Belgium with a 19-point lead.

Lewis took two new engines this weekend, one in FP1 and the second in FP2. He will start from the back of the grid or from pit lane but he now has two brand new engines—seven total for the year—in which to complete the season. A cunning move with the new engine upgrades and with a points lead, he’s doing everything he needs to in order to win his fourth championship.


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He could even fit a third new Power Unit for free practice 3 this morning, if he wanted to be absolutely sure of getting to the end of the season with no further penalties. It depends on whether Mercedes has another updated power unit available.

Junipero Mariano

Well, spoilers, that is exactly what has happened. It makes me wonder why the FIA didn’t see this coming, or after McLaren pulled this stunt last year, did nothing about it. If you wanted to prevent runaway engine changes, why not limit the engine change to one PU per race? So if Lewis wanted a new engine for Monza, for example, he should have to start at the back of the grid there too, instead of serving grid penalties all the way into 2017. PS. Commenters on other websites actually suggested serving the accumulated grid penalties throughout the season, which… Read more »


They could always paint the additional grid spots on the track, Hamilton would start somewhere around Blanchimont with Alonso for company if he takes a third power unit this weekend after another failure in qualifying.


Why not a lap per component rather than just grid spots (only partly joking)


You have to wonder, if Renault has turned their P.U from boat anchor to second quickest by using just three tokens, were last years performance and reliability issues in the Red Bull all down to the P.U???????

Zachary Noepe

I think it really is a valid question. Red Bull are famous for under-venting their PU because it causes aero disturbances. They might have just given the same basic engine a little more cooling air and been able to run it that much harder. Hard to know.

Fred Talmadge

Will be fun to watch him move thru the field.


In the race for grid penalties, Alonso has moved ahead, with 60places dropped thanks to yet another ICE, TC, MGU-H and MGU-K after oil pressure issues stopped him in qualifying.
Just how many of his three power units that have been tired this weekend can be reused for the rest of the season will be interesting (the first had a coolant leak, the second an oil pressure problem). If they cannot be repaired, then he may need a further penalty later in the season (it is too far to go on just one set of power unit elements).

Zachary Noepe

And that’s assuming basic standards of reliability, which they struggle to achieve.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x