With the Mercedes AMG Petronas team unable to clearly determine the root cause of Lewis Hamilton’s power unit failure both in Shanghai and during yesterday’s Sochi qualifying session, the team can not categorically state Nico Rosberg will not suffer a similar fate in today’s race.
It is understood the team have flown in replacement components for Lewis Hamilton’s power unit overnight. Although not confirmed by the team, once fitted it is possible these components may result in further grid penalties for Lewis. It is unlikely any modifications will be made to Nico’s power unit, as any change would likely lead to grid place penalties.
Following the power unit failure Lewis Hamilton suffered in Shanghai, Mercedes published an overview of the assessment process undertaken by the team to understand the route cause of the issue. This assessment can be found here. Observers have questioned how the team, after a trouble free winter testing in which the team were able to complete 19 race distances on a single power unit can now be facing such reliability issues.
The troubles the team are facing are a testament to a team not resting on their laurels, pushing to extract the maximum performance out of the team and power unit. Such an approach suggests the team see a true credible threat from Ferrari and Red Bull Racing as the season processes.
Upgrades to the Mercedes power unit applied ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, which used two of the teams performance tokens for the season and included the introduction of a new lubricant from Petronas are not thought to have contributed to the power unit issue. The upgrade has been applied to all Mercedes power units on the grid and has been applied without needing to introduce a second power unit in the season.