‘Catastrophic loss’ puts Lewis Hamilton onto his second PU for the season

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton standing in front of the Mercedes garage

Lewis Hamilton has taken his second engine for the season in Japan

Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes W15 will be fitted with new power unit components for the Japanese Grand Prix weekend after it was confirmed his Australian GP issue was terminal.

The Briton moves onto his second of four penalty-free engines for the championship.

Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes W15 failure in Melbourne was terminal

Hamilton retired from the Australian Grand Prix while fighting for the minor points as his engine gave up 17 laps into the grand prix.

At the time Mercedes technical director James Allison called it a “catastrophic loss”, explaining there was a “rapid loss of oil pressure followed by a shutdown of the engine.”

The PU was returned to Mercedes’ engine facility in Brixworth for analysis with Motorsport.com reporting the Briton’s retirement was the result of “a bottom end failure, which has been traced back to a quality process issue rather than any specific design problem.”

Such was the failure, the engine has been lost from Hamilton’s PU pool with the seven-time World Champion moving onto a second for the season in Japan.

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Having scored just eight points across the opening three rounds, Hamilton has suffered statistically his worst-ever start to a Formula 1 season.

“Of course, we have not started the season where we want to be and we’ve got a long way to go,” he said in Suzuka.

“You have seen in the past – last year, for example – just how things can switch in certain teams. If you look at Aston or McLaren last year, who started on the back foot or the other way around.

“Anything can happen in this sport so we have just got to learn as much as we can, take as much as we can from the data, remain positive, continue to work hard.

“I always say it’s not how you fall, it’s how you get up, so we’re going to continue to chase and fight and hope that we can be fighting at the front at some stage.”

But despite his minimal points, the Briton insisted he does “feel more optimistic about this car”, adding: “Obviously the first couple of races there has been small showings of the car feeling great and we would have had pace for a moment and then it kind of disappears.

“There is definitely performance there we just need to work on making this car more consistent and easier to drive.”

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