After previously hinting that defending champion Lewis Hamilton will take an engine penalty during the Italian round at Monza next week.
Lewis was in attendance at the drivers press conference on thursday in Spa, where the Englishman vowed to do all he can to minimise the impact of the impending penalty(s) this weekend, after Mercedes confirmed that Spa Franchorchamps is the chosen one.
Rare Mercedes reliability issues hit Hamilton two races in a row earlier in the season, meaning that Lewis had already used ‘five a piece’ of the turbo and MGU-H components of the intricate power unit.
Formula 1 rules stipulate that using a 6th component of any element, arrives with an automatic grid drop to the tune of 10 places. If two components of the same element were to be used during a weekend, the second component only brings an additional 5 place grid penalty.
A spokesperson from Brackley also confirmed the decision:
“It is safe to assume he will start from the back of the field or very close but we cannot be more precise at this stage,”
Hamilton, adamant that damage limitation will be the only thing on his mind entering the race.
“As far as I am aware we will be taking the penalty this weekend,” he said.
“Naturally we already discussed engine penalties that will come into play for sure but I will do everything I can to minimise the impact I have.
“Otherwise, beyond that penalty that I will eventually take, I think I will be able to continue with the momentum I had before the break.
“I think in terms of winning, that is the goal but it will be very, very hard, the gap has closed between other cars, we are in third year of evolution of cars and Red Bull is quick. Same as Ferrari.
“It will be harder than it was last year or year before to climb through field, It will be about minimising the damage of taking a penalty.”
Pushed on whether the reliability rules cruelly punish the driver, Hamilton replied: “It is a team sport, so we win and lose together as a team. Sometimes it is not just a mistake just a thing that happens.
“I don’t look at it as incompetence, I look at it as a learning experience because we learned from the issues and they won’t happen again.”
Lewis will be hoping that the entry into La Source will be incident free, and the power of the new Merc components can be tested during the long run down to Les Combes. Game on.