“We Are Not Calm” – Wolff Affirms Impending Engine Penalty Threat for Mercedes F1 Duo Hamilton & Bottas

Published 11/05/2021, 7:17 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Intercity Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – October 9, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates qualifying in pole position with Valtteri Bottas who qualified in second position REUTERS/Umit Bektas


Over the years, Mercedes had often enjoyed free runs in Formula 1, easing their way through the grid to clinch both the constructors and the driver’s titles. However, the resurgence of Red Bull this season has led the Brackley outfit to a rather panicking situation.

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Toto Wolff, in particular, is enduring sleepless nights thinking about the threats he might have to tackle amidst ever-growing reliability concerns over their engines. While Valtteri Bottas is already into his 6th engine change this season, Lewis Hamilton is in his 4th.

Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 15, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during a promotional photoshoot for the unveiling of the new 2022 F1 car REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge

Of course, with Bottas, it was a tactical decision, as then, the Finn could counter reliability issues in the closing stages of the season. But, the biggest problem is with Hamilton. The Briton is only into his 4th engine change, and that too, not the entire power unit but a part of it; ICE, to be precise.

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Hence, there is still a significant chance that Hamilton might have to opt for yet another engine change, which will lead to a grid penalty.

What did the Mercedes F1 team principal say?

As reported by Formula Passion, Wolff opened up that both Bottas and Hamilton might have to take up an engine penalty in coming races.

We are not calm. It is a problem for us this year, we have lost a lot of points, we are not 100% sure to finish the season with these engines and therefore we could change them again,” the Austrian said.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that Red Bull are at an advantage. The Milton Keynes outfit, too, are aware of the fact that both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez’s current engines are likely to wear out during the closing stages of the season.

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Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – June 27, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton with Valtteri Bottas after finishing second and third respectively REUTERS/Darko Vojinovic

Hence, if anything, both Mercedes and Red Bull are under pressure, and it’ll be all about conserving the engine from hereon. Both the teams might run with lower engine modes through the rest of the season. But, there’s also the fear of Mercedes using Bottas as a pawn to destroy Red Bull’s plan.

With the Finn already into his 6th engine, he will only serve 5-place grid penalties over forthcoming engine changes. Hence, this might leave a conserving Red Bull under threat against the potentially overpowering Mercedes of Bottas.

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So, are we in for a nail-biting end to the season? Are we set to witness more victories from Bottas’ end?

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Rohit Kumar

1413 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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