Lewis Hamilton suffers blow at Japanese Grand Prix as F1 penalty looms after Mercedes discovery

Mercedes has finally decided whether that power unit can be revived after Lewis Hamilton retired from the Australian Grand Prix after just 17 laps due to an engine issue.

Lewis Hamilton’s engine has been discarded, Mercedes has confirmed after it malfunctioned during the Australian Grand Prix.

Hamilton was forced to stop at the side of the track due to a power unit issue, ending his race in Melbourne after just 17 laps. To determine exactly what went wrong with the engine, Mercedes had it transported back to its Brixworth facility.

It was hoped they would be able to identify the issue and resolve it in order to make it usable once more this year. Delays resulted from the fact that the nature of the problem was not immediately apparent.

Mercedes has now realized that the engine cannot be salvaged. Given that there have only been three races held so far in the season, it means Hamilton is already on his second power unit.

Throughout the 24-race Formula 1 season, drivers are only permitted to use four internal combustion engines, which means they must complete an average of six full race weekends. Hamilton lost one after just three, which means there is a much higher chance that he will require a fifth.

If, as now appears likely, he is required to take a fifth ICE this year, there will be an automatic grid penalty. Thankfully, Mercedes’ diagnostic efforts have also resulted in some encouraging news for the group.

Their engineers think that rather than an engine design flaw, the issue with that engine was a bottom end failure brought on by a problem with quality control. It has been determined that the issue is unlikely to persist.

Nevertheless, even though it was an isolated incident, it ended up hurting Hamilton and the team. They therefore left Melbourne empty-handed, and George Russell, their teammate, was also left without a point after retiring from the race late on.

Mercedes’ poorest start to an F1 season since 2012, with just 26 points after three races. For Hamilton, it has been even worse; his meager eight points at this point in the season is the lowest since he began competing in 2007.

He told reporters, though, that he is still upbeat about the remainder of the season: “We’ve not started the season where we wanted to be, but we still have a long way to go… We will just keep chasing and fighting, with the goal of eventually fighting at the front.”

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