Ralf Schumacher is concerned by Lewis Hamilton’s “rocket engine”, saying that Mercedes’ move to fit it was “questionable”.
The seven-time World Champion had a fresh ICE fitted at the start of the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend, and it gave him a huge advantage over the rest of the field in terms of pace.
In the sprint on Saturday, he started from the back of the field due to a technical DRS infringement being detected after being comfortably quickest in traditional qualifying. In the 24 laps that followed, he climbed all the way up to P5.
In the main race meanwhile, he claimed victory, passing Max Verstappen with 11 laps to go, after starting in P10 due to the grid penalty he was handed for the engine change.
It is widely believed that Mercedes changed the engine due to the superior performance it would provide rather than an issue with the old one, deeming it worth taking penalties for, and this concerns Schumacher.
“This worries me a little,” he told Sky Deutschland.
“The FIA should look for a different way because if this idea breaks down, everyone will change the engine every time and then everyone gets the same penalty and everyone has a great performance.”
Hamilton: "I feel massively down on power."
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) November 19, 2021
In fact, the German would like to see a rule introduced that would mean teams can only change their engines if there’s a clear fault with them rather than just some wear and performance loss brought on by high mileage.
He says that being able to make changes for that reason as Mercedes have done in his eyes goes against the spirit of Formula 1 and feels “questionable” in terms of fairness.
“Mercedes only changed it because it was showing too much wear from the previous races. It wasn’t broken, but that’s not the point of Formula 1. I find it a bit questionable,” he added.
“In my opinion, an engine should only be changed when it has to be. And if Mercedes has more wear and tear and less performance than the others, that’s their problem.
“You shouldn’t be able to take advantage like this.”
Given the advantage it gives him over the competition, there has been some talk that Hamilton will fit another fresh engine again before the end of the season, and Martin Brundle thinks he should do so.
If the Brit wins each of the remaining three races, he’s guaranteed to become World Champion, surpassing the tally of World Championships that Ralf’s brother, Michael, has.