Toto Wolff Issues Surprising Lewis Hamilton Update Amid Engine Penalty F1 Saga

Published 09/15/2021, 1:45 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 10, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during practice REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini


This season, Lewis Hamilton finds himself in one of the most difficult title defenses in recent history. Although he dominated opponents with Mercedes over the years, the Briton has stiff competition from Max Verstappen and his red-hot Red Bull this year.

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During the season, the rules specify a driver can only use a maximum of three power units. However, various events in the season force the need for an additional power unit in the future for some drivers. While Red Bull admitted Verstappen would need one, Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff admitted Hamilton may not face the same issue.

Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff believes Lewis Hamilton can finish the season on three power units

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If a team needs to fit a fourth power unit, they will take a grid penalty in the race they decide to make the change. At the Italian Grand Prix, Mercedes did this with Valtteri Bottas, who started from P19 despite winning the sprint race.

Verstappen will need a fourth power unit after he lost one in a high-speed crash at the British Grand Prix. On the other hand, Hamilton seemed like he would also need an additional power unit after he suffered a failure during practice in the Dutch Grand Prix.

Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 5, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

However, Wolff revealed making that change might not be necessary at this stage. He said“We have no absolute obligation to upgrade to a fourth power unit as the current one is still well within the mileage limit. It is a decision that can be taken at any time, but at the moment it does not seem necessary.” (Translated by Google Translate)

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Wolff: It depends on how the next races go

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Although the Austrian looked confident, he acknowledged the unpredictability of F1 in his response. He said, “Does this mean that we will only be using three engines this year? I do not know. It all depends on how the next races go.”

Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 5, 2021 Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff arrives at the circuit REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Meanwhile, Hamilton hoped for good fortune to smile upon him in the races that remain. He said, “At the moment I still have two power units available and I am not expected to have a fourth. At least that’s what I hope!”

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Although Mercedes dominated opponents with pace, they also held a psychological edge at times. Could this be another ploy from the Silver Arrows to force Red Bull to blink first? Or could this be a major advantage in the championship battle?

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Sanket Nair

640 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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