Mercedes spend final engine tokens on new-spec engine for Italian GP
Hamilton and Rosberg move onto third engines of 2016 after Mercedes make 'tactical' decision to work on 2016 developments
By James Galloway at Monza
Last Updated: 09/09/15 1:15pm
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg's cars will be fitted with new-spec Mercedes engines for the Italian GP after the world champions spent their remaining seven development 'tokens' for Monza.
Having enjoyed a continued performance and reliability advantage over the field since the start of their title defence, Mercedes' title-chasing drivers had used just two engines apiece for the season's opening 11 rounds.
However, ahead of the fastest race on the calendar, Mercedes have confirmed that both their drivers will take their third engines of the year this weekend in a "tactical" move to aid 2016 development with the focus on a new fuel from supplier Petronas.
"Our drivers will take their third power units of the season and it will be a new spec using our remaining 7 development tokens," Mercedes tweeted.
"We've tactically pulled forward planned 2016 development to learn about a new spec of @PET_Motorsports fuel out on track! The goal? A dash of R&D exploring a new development direction to unlock more performance for the whole #MBFamily in 2016!"
Although Mercedes have not disclosed what area of the engine they have spent their final 'tokens' on, the specification being introduced at Monza will essentially now be the one that completes the season - although the team can continue to tweak the unit for reliability and cost reasons.
Mercedes' three customer teams, Williams, Lotus and Force India, are not thought to be running the new-specification yet but will undoubtedly be keen to see if the new unit gives the works outfit a performance jump at Monza.
Speculation has also suggested that Ferrari, Mercedes' closest challengers in the championship, might spend some of their own final seven tokens for their home race at Monza, although the Scuderia have yet to confirm any such move.
Struggling Renault are thought to be holding the spend of their 12 remaining tokens until the Russian GP in October, whereas McLaren's partner Honda have four tokens left after upgrades in both Canada and Belgium.