Brazil: Will engines be the key?

Will engines be the key to the title at the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend? It appears that Lewis Hamilton may have a horse power advantage over his team-mate and championship rival at the final race of the season.

Under F1 rules, each engine should be run in two consecutive races. If the engine is changed before the second race, the driver faces a 10 place grid slot penalty. Hamilton will be fitted with a brand new engine ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend however Alonso must use the engine that took him to second place at the Chinese Grand Prix a fortnight ago. Both Ferraris are also due to have new engines with both having completed the two-race engine cycle in Shanghai.

So will the new engines really help? Brazil is the final race of the season. This means that for anyone with a new engine at Brazil, the amount of mileage the engine has to last is effectively halved from around 1,000 km to 500 km. Although the 2007 engine freeze rules will not allow mechanics to aggressively upgrade the engines, there still could be significant advantages for those on new engines.

The severity of the usage of the engine can be increased as it no longer needs to last for two races. This means it can be run at higher revs and/or higher temperatures. Rumours claim that the new engine will mean that Hamilton will have around 10 horse power more available to him than Fernando Alonso and these small factors may well be the edge that Hamilton needs to take him to the Drivers World Championship.