Bottas avoids an F1 starting penalty at the Portuguese GP

Valtteri Bottas will avoid a starting penalty at the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Portugal at the weekend after his engine failure in Germany, Mercedes has confirmed.

Bottas had to retire from the Nürburgring race after Mercedes discovered a problem that it initially suspected was related to the MGU-H.

Mercedes decided to retire the car because they feared Bottas’s absence could result in serious damage to their engine and a change that would result in a starting grid penalty.

Team boss Toto Wolff said the decision to stop Bottas’ car “prevented mechanical damage to his engine” and revealed that Mercedes believed the problem was with the control electronics.

Mercedes confirmed this on Thursday. The team has updated the cars of Bottas and teammate Lewis Hamilton for this weekend with new CE components and made calibration changes to avoid repeating the problem.

This is the second module change for both drivers and within the permissible assignment so that no network penalties are triggered.

The news is a boost to Mercedes’ low hopes of securing a straight record title as Seventh Constructor, which it will win if it ends the weekend with a 220-point advantage over nearest rivals Red Bull.

“Of course it was another strong year, and as a driver you are always a proud member of the team,” said Bottas of the prospect of achieving the feat with five races remaining.

“It’s amazing what the team is doing and everyone is still trying hard to raise the bar and that brings success.

“Of course, nothing has been won yet and it doesn’t really make sense to think too much about it, even if there is little chance we will get it this weekend.

“But it’s not the main thing in our head, we’re here to win the race, to do our best, but I hope we’ll get it sometime this year.”

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