Big-end bearing failure cause of Hamilton engine blow out


Großer Preis von Malaysia 2016, Freitag. Credit: Mercedes AMG PETRONAS

Following Lewis Hamilton’s unanticipated retirement from the Malaysian Grand Prix after experiencing an engine blow out last weekend, the Brit’s power unit was returned to the factory in Brixworth to undergo some extensive investigations.

The cause of the failure was found to be down to a big-end bearing failure following a loss of oil pressure, and was enough to signal the end of Hamilton’s race having worked hard to carve out a strong lead, and looking increasingly like he would cruise to victory.

Speaking at the Suzuka International Racing Course on Thursday, a spokesperson for Mercedes AMG PETRONAS confirmed the team’s findings.

“Our analysis has shown that Lewis’ engine suffered a big-end bearing failure.

“This happened without warning after 618 km and was preceded by a loss of oil pressure in Turn 15.”

The German squad also confirmed that they will introduce revised engine parameters for all Mercedes engines this weekend, which includes those powered by the German manufacturer. A more conservative oil specification will also be brought in as a precaution.

Sahara Force India, Williams Martini Racing and the Manor Racing Team car of Pascal Wehrlein were all set to receive new power units in Japan, however Mercedes are now holding back on the release of their latest development until they are happy the reasoning behind Hamilton’s engine failure is completely understood.

The current world champion has been hit by a number of mechanical failures this year, but the timing of this one could have major consequences for Hamilton in the title race, with only five races left to go before the end of the season is upon us, and the Brit now trailing team-mate Nico Rosberg by twenty-three points in the Driver’s Championship.

Having initially questioned why it was always he that was plagued with engine failures this year, Hamilton was quick to explain that he felt he was being tested by a higher force, but would step up to that challenge and made it clear that he believes there is still everything to play for in the title race.