Sep.28 - It's "not exactly clear" if Lewis Hamilton will need a new Mercedes engine before the end of the season.

That is the view of Honda's technical boss Toyoharu Tanabe, after Red Bull's Max Verstappen had to scythe through the field at Sochi after taking engine penalties.

As far as team official Dr Helmut Marko is concerned, Hamilton will not be able to avoid the same sort of fate.

"I hope our information is correct," he told Sky Deutschland. "Lewis will have to change again.

"Going from last on the grid to the podium is not that easy," he added.

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff, however, is not ready to announce that Hamilton will definitely need a new engine.

That is despite the fact that the German team surprised the paddock at Sochi when Valtteri Bottas was suddenly sent tumbling down the grid with an engine change.

Some wondered if it was merely a tactical move for the championship - and whether the Alfa Romeo-bound Bottas was reluctant to play ball.

"He seemed to just wave Max through. It was almost like a gift," observed 1996 world champion Damon Hill.

Honda's Tanabe told "I don't know exactly to what extent the Monza engine (of Bottas) was finished.

"But if they say that it can no longer be used, then I understand the choice. I don't know the reason for the change, of course, or if Hamilton will have to replace his for the same reason.

"It's not exactly clear," said the Japanese.

A change for Hamilton, however, is widely expected.

"There's a chance," Wolff admitted. "So in that case we would have a weekend like Red Bull just had.

"A failure is an absolute no-no for the championship. Neither we nor our opponents can afford a weekend with zero points.

"So let's see how the engine situation develops. We can always see the performance data and then we will decide where to switch," the Austrian added.

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8 F1 Fan comments on “Honda says it's not clear if Hamilton needs fourth new engine

  1. smokey

    In light of winning the Championship, it would be more prudent for Marko and Honda to concentrate on, and manage, their own performance rather than to spend so much time trying to manage their opposition!
    Marko = doctor of propaganda!

  2. Jax

    Translation: "I purposely never have and will never drive for Ferrari as their team dynamics have washed out not just one, but two multiple World Champions in recent years. So no thank you to that culture. I'll stick with good old Merc."

  3. Les

    Are there only penalties if a new engine is taken? If they use a used engine no penalty? If so has anyone considered whether changing Valteri's engine at Sochi was not only designed to put him in Max's way but so Hamilton could use Valteri's engine as it is only one race use. Just a thought. Do they have to tell anybody in that situation as it is a used engine. If tbey do that have totally used Valteri. Why would he want to help the team , probably only because the drivers get a bonus if Mercedes wins constructors title.

    • ReallyOldRacer

      Les, good questions, grid penalty for 4th PU, # of places depends on # of components taken. Once a PU is used it is in rotation as long as it lasts. No, one driver cannot use another's PU. They are car specific. Spot on re the bonus.


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