Toto Wolff has confirmed Mercedes are considering taking an engine penalty for Lewis Hamilton at the Turkish Grand Prix.
Drivers are only allowed to use three power units this season, with a change to a fourth causing them to be given a grid penalty for the race weekend when they make that change.
A number of drivers have taken such a penalty in recent times, including Hamilton’s title rival, Max Verstappen, and his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, with both having their engine changed at Sochi last time out.
With the Briton currently on his third engine with seven rounds to go of the 2021 campaign, it looks likely he will also have to do so at some point.
In terms of when he would take the penalty, Mercedes have not given anything away with Wolff previously saying the decision will be made “spontaneously”.
“At the moment, we go through it race by race and see how the performance and durability of the engine develops,” the team principal told RTL.
“If we do switch power units, it will happen spontaneously. We would have just as much of a disadvantage as Red Bull had at Sochi.”
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However, the Austrian has now admitted the team are considering changing Hamilton’s engine at the next round, the Turkish Grand Prix.
“It’s a possibility. When and how is not yet decided,” he told Sky Sports.
“Most important is that you don’t DNF because of a reliability issue. You can cope with swings – whether you finish second, third, I think that’s okay, the championship will go long. But if you don’t finish…
“So we are looking at the parameters of the engines, making sure we don’t suffer from any reliability problems.”
Mercedes enjoyed themselves at Istanbul Park last year with Hamilton claiming victory to seal the seventh World Championship of his career.
It was the second time Hamilton had won on Turkish soil in Formula 1 for he had also done so a decade earlier in 2010.
Wolff is not letting his driver’s strong past record there get his hopes up, though.
“Lewis has been tremendous there,” he added.
“But we have to take each race at a time. It’s so difficult, the cars are so close. I’m curious to see how this championship evolves.”
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