Toto Wolff has admitted the method of 'stockpiling' engines on any one race weekend is 'ridiculous' but says Mercedes chose to take advantage of the regulation after its own earlier suggestion to close the loophole was rejected by rivals.
With a penalty-inducing engine change looming for the Belgian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton changed his engine three times over the course of the Spa weekend, racking up 55 positions worth of grid drops.
Though previous penalties 'beyond the grid' were converted into time penalties, the dropping of this rule has opened up the opportunity for teams to make several changes without a punishment worse than simply starting at the back of the grid.
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As such, Hamilton – who finished third from 21st on the grid – has bolstered his power unit pool to the end of the season. Though some have viewed the move cynically, Wolff insists it was Mercedes that led the request to close the loophole last year only to be denied.
“Last year we had a race where Jenson took 52 places which was so ridiculous that we brought forward a regulation that said you cannot stockpile engines so if you use more than one engine on a given race weekend that shouldn't be happening.
“It's sad that the regulation proposal wasn't accepted by the other teams so, this time around we did the same thing and decided to take more engines on board and put them on stock. The system is far from perfect and sounds a bit ridiculous. I think you should probably close that loophole.”
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Even so, by Hamilton – unlike Nico Rosberg - does now face completing the season without Mercedes' most recent engine upgrade without picking up a penalty. However, Wolff feels the quantity Hamilton now enjoys outweighs the minor update.
“There is no perfect scenario. If we introduce an upgraded engine that has more performance it could still be detrimental of course but what we are seeing at the moment is that there is no such gain.
“From what we are testing on the dynos it is not showing that it would give Lewis a disadvantage, so I don't see this as something that could affect his championship. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages of having him now with three engines. It's much better.
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