Lewis Hamilton could receive a grid penalty for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in just over a week. Mercedes reported after the Brazil race last weekend that the Briton's engine was damaged during the event.
Hamilton managed to win the race after Max Verstappen was spun around by Esteban Ocon, who was being lapped. The 33-year-old was forced to nurse his car home, and crossed the line 1.5 seconds ahead of a chasing Verstappen.
James Vowles, the chief engineer at the Silver Arrows, explained that a number of changes had to be made to Hamilton's engine to ensure that it got to the end of the race without failing.
"If we just go back a little bit and look at what happened in the race, after the first pit stop with Lewis we noticed quite a significant problem, which required a huge amount of input from a number of sources," stated Vowles.
"We have a team back in the UK at Brixworth who work alongside us on the intercom, and we have a huge team trackside working together diligently to understand what we can change on the engine to get to the end of the race.
"They did a fantastic job. It wasn't one change - it was a huge number of changes across a 40 - 50 lap period, where they were working with Lewis to adjust various componentry and get that Power Unit to the end of the race. They did a fantastic job."
Hamilton's victory in Brazil marked the first time he won a race immediately after winning the world championship. The damaged engine will be inspected on the build-up to Abu Dhabi before it is decided if a fresh one will be used for the final race of the year.
"The engine has sustained some level of damage - but we don't yet understand what," added Vowles. "It has to be inspected and understood before we can make any decision going forward to Abu Dhabi."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing
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