Reigning Formula One champion Briton Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) said he could be penalized with a five-place penalty at the start of the Brazilian Grand Prix for a possible engine change in his car.
But the fear of the seven-time world champion is yet to be confirmed, amid the wait by several teams, including Mercedes, for the cargo containers, delayed after the race in Mexico last weekend.
“Right now I can’t really comment on anything. I don’t know, I think the engines haven’t arrived yet, ”he told reporters in Sao Paulo, where the Grand Prix will be held between Friday and Sunday.
“As far as I know, my engine is fine, but we will find out later (…) We have not yet been able to have our engineering meeting,” he said.
If Mercedes decides that Hamilton should use the fifth engine of the season, the racer would receive an automatic five-place penalty on the starting grid. That would reduce his chances of victory in the world title fight with the leader, the Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull).
At the Interlagos circuit, where he won in 2016 and 2018, the Briton hopes to triumph again after three races without victories, the last two defeated by Verstappen.
«They have had a very strong car all year, the strongest. I think we have done everything in our power, “said Hamilton.
“This weekend we will press to see if we can demand more from the car, but we anticipate that it will be difficult to beat them,” he added.
Nineteen points behind Verstappen, the 36-year-old Hamilton insisted the team’s priority is to win the constructors’ title, won back-to-back since 2014.
With four stages to go, Mercedes is just one point ahead of Red Bull.
“If I’m totally honest, I’m not thinking about myself (…) Of course I want to win the drivers’ championship, but the team championship is very important because of the resources you get for development and because of the people who work in the factory,” he said. .
– Delays in shipments –
Given the delays in the arrivals of shipments from Mexico, attributed to bad weather, Formula One relaxed the deadlines in the preparation of vehicles.
Normally, teams must submit their cars to technical control 18 hours before the first free practice, scheduled for Friday at noon. Now, the deadline was reduced to three hours before the start of the practices.
The decision to run for three consecutive weekends in countries so distant from each other (Mexico, Brazil and Qatar) accumulated pressure on the logistics necessary for the development of the final stretch of the season.
However, F1 assured that the delays will surely not have a major impact on the activities of this weekend, as the missing equipment is expected to arrive this Thursday.
Haas boss Gunther Steiner claimed that his team does not have some parts of the cars, including the engines.
“I think we are missing the toolboxes. Without them, you cannot work ”, he pointed out.
“I think we will come out of this well,” Steiner confided. «But if we have this problem next week [en Catar], I think there will be greater consequences. AFP (HN)