Stroll Brazil woe was triggered by older-spec Mercedes F1 engine

Williams has revealed that Lance Stroll was hampered in Formula 1's Brazilian Grand Prix by a lack of engine power, after being forced to revert to an older-specification Mercedes unit

Stroll Brazil woe was triggered by older-spec Mercedes F1 engine

Stroll struggled at Interlagos and finished last as team-mate Felipe Massa finished seventh, best-of-the-rest behind the big three teams, which drew strong criticism from 1997 Formula 1 champion Jacques Villeneuve.

Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe insists that Stroll had little chance of doing much better because he had a power deficit as the result of having to go back to his third engine after a problem in final practice.

"The story of Lance this weekend is not great and not of his own making," explained Lowe.

"He had a gearbox failure in FP3, which was due to a corruption of some of the electronic calibration.

"During that process, at high speed, it selected some low gears and revved the engine to over 18,000rpm - so the engine was finished.

"That was engine number four [the latest specification], so we put in engine number three and that is probably the one he will use for the rest of the year.

"Unfortunately engine number three is down on performance for a number of reasons compared to engine number four.

"It means that Lance was on the back foot with not a great qualifying position, but also down on performance."

The biggest issue with using engine number three was that there was no longer any scope for Stroll to use 'magic' modes to help in overtaking.

"After stalling at the start, which was unfortunate, the biggest blow for Lance was getting stuck behind [Romain] Grosjean for far too long, which eroded his buffer and advantage to [Pierre] Gasly.

"And without the mode in the engine that he is missing - as in effect we have consumed a lot of the quotas in that engine because it was not supposed to be used again - it made overtaking very difficult.

"He then flat spotted a tyre in a desperate attempt to get past Grosjean, and that really then further ruined his race.

"It is one of the weekends which I am sure Lance will want to forget, but it was not kicked off by anything of his own doing."

Lowe said Williams did weigh up fitting a brand new fifth engine for Stroll on race morning, but decided that the extra cost of doing so was not worth the benefit it would bring.

Although Stroll's result was disappointing, Lowe described Massa's race as "perfect", having overtaken Fernando Alonso at an early restart.

"This was actually far better [for a farewell] because it was on the basis of a terrific drive," he said.

"I think he probably didn't have the quicker car overall but he managed to claim that position by really fantastic skill and experience, especially by managing the life of the tyres he had."

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