Mercedes rule out engine change for Hamilton in Abu Dhabi

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Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin says the Brackley has no plans to add a fresh engine to Lewis Hamilton's pool of hardware in Abu Dhabi.

Rumors of an engine change at Yas Marina for the joint leader of the F1 world championship – and a subsequent five-place grid penalty – ramped up this week ahead of Formula 1's title decider.

While a fresh engine coupled with a five-place setback would perhaps still represent a good risk/reward case for Hamilton, such a course of action would only come about as a result of "something going wrong" insisted Shovlin.

"Not in the plan," the Mercedes engineer told Sky Sports, when asked about a potential engine chage.

"If we do that, something's gone wrong. It wouldn't feel like a good idea. That would only be if we suffered a big problem and, even at that, it wouldn't be Plan A if we did lose an engine."

In Saudi Arabia last weekend, Mercedes bolted on to Hamilton's W12 the unit he used to great effect in Brazil.

Labeled a "rocket engine" by Red Bull's Helmut Marko, the power unit will be used once again by Hamilton in Abu Dhabi. But Shovlin downplayed the engine's "spicy" performance edge, as team boss Toto Wolff called it.

"It's not as big a deal as it's perhaps being made out to be," he said.

"I think Red Bull were inferring it's a huge difference. I think Toto did the same at one point.

"It's a useful step in the right direction, but whether we had it in or not at the last race, it's not going to cover the kind of gap we were seeing to Max [Verstappen] on a single lap.

"But it's a step in the right direction."

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