Mercedes ponders taking tactical grid penalty at Monza

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Mercedes is contemplating adding a fourth engine to its drivers' hardware pool at Monza in a bid to tackle the back half of the season with a better margin of security in terms of its power unit usage.

For many teams, the summer has taken its toll on its engines, and Mercedes and Red Bull are both on the fringes of a grid penalty as their three-engine allocation has reached its limit or has been reduced.

Such was the case for the Milton Keynes-based outfit which was forced to discard one damage engine for both max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Verstappen reckoned his team would not take a tactical grid penalty at Monza, but Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says the Brackley squad is considering introducing a fourth unit into its pool.

"I think we're all struggling on power units," he told Sky Sports F1. "And maybe not only reliability, but also how much these power units work hard, and how much are they really degrading.

"There are thoughts definitely for the weekend [of making a change] but we haven't come to a conclusion."

Wolff warned that the tight championship battle between Mercedes and Red Bull is leaving no room for error, but also no margin for an engine failure.

"We believe that between P1 and P2, with the fastest lap, that if you have one DNF it needs the other guy four races to catch up," explained the Austrian. "And that's brutal.

"So you can afford to finish four times in second [place]. Therefore, you just need to really play it safe while not giving up performance."

Update: During qualifying on Friday evening at Monza, the FIA the FIA issued a bulletin confirming that Mercedes had added a fresh engine, turbocharger, MGU-H and MGU-K to Bottas' pool of hardware, a chanage that will send the Finn to the back of grid for Sunday's race.

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