Lewis Hamilton is worried about the three-engine rule coming in for 2018 damaging the potential for exciting Formula 1 races as drivers are forced to delicately maintain their power unit components.

This year drivers are limited to four engines for the entire F1 campaign before being hit by grid penalties but next season the rule is being reduced to three for the MGU-H, internal combustion engines and turbocharges, while just two units will be permitted for MGU-Ks, energy stories and control electronics.

With a number of teams and drivers hit by grid penalties for using more than the permitted number of components – with the McLaren-Honda drivers already in double figures – the fear of constant grid penalties throughout 2018 is being flagged up.

While Hamilton has confidence in Mercedes being able to avoid exceeding its power unit component limits, he is concerned it means drivers must be more economical with the mileage and outright power to reduce wear on the engines over the 21-round 2018 season. The fear was emphasised after the four-time F1 world champion’s charge through the pack in the Brazilian Grand Prix with a fresh engine he was allowed to run at full blast.

“This is the first time I’ve pushed an engine like that. It was nice, normally you’re managing it,” Hamilton said. “I always look after it more than I need to. I often turn the engine down and they keep telling me to turn it up and I’m like ‘No, I prefer it down and I’ll figure out a way to catch up in another way’. That’s your fear of pushing it too much, like the engine blowing up in Malaysia last year.

“Next year we’re going to have three engines, I should generally be able to make those three engines last. I don’t like the idea of going to three engines. That sucks. Sprinting is what we’re missing in Formula 1.

“The fact that these days we’ve got 100kg, the car is going to be a bus next year, it’s going to be so heavy it’s going to be like a bleeding NASCAR next year, so heavy. The braking distances get longer and it sounds negative but as a racer who wants a fast, nimble car that I can attack every single lap, unfortunately that’s not what we generally have.”

Consequently, Hamilton fears F1 will lose some of its spectacle with drivers looking to nurse engines for multiple races.

“I don’t think that’s too exciting for people to watch,” he said. “That’s why people look at the most exciting races, particularly when it rains because you don’t have those limitations.

“Races where Max [Verstappen] has been coming through from the back of some sort - or a driver has been - those have been the most exciting ones. I’m not sure cutting down the engines is helping it in that direction.”



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