There was further controversy for the Mercedes F1 team today as it admitted that Lewis Hamilton’s Canadian Grand Prix car was using next season’s engine.
At first Mercedes insisted that the use of the new 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 and Energy Recovery Unit was sanctioned by the FIA. The Brackley-based outfit was later forced to admit that it had asked for permission while the FIA was on the phone and the FIA may have smiled and nodded because they thought they were being offered a cup of tea.
‘It’s not entirely clear,’ admitted a spokesman. ‘However, we believe that testing a test unit of next season’s engine during the testing conditions of a race was not a test.’
Mercedes is now under investigation, not only for the engine irregularity but also for the way Nico Rosberg got out of the car during a pit stop and was replaced by test driver Sam Bird for the rest of the race.
It is believed that several other F1 teams have already lodged formal complaints about Mercedes F1’s behaviour in Canada. ‘Oh dear,’ said a spokesman flippantly. ‘It looks like we’ve tested their patience.’