Alonso faces engine setback for ’07 finale

Tue, 16 October 2007, 06:17

Lewis Hamilton will enjoy a horse power advantage over his teammate and championship rival Fernando Alonso as the 2007 season climaxes in Brazil this weekend.

The 22-year-old British rookie not only has a four-point advantage over the Spaniard, but a brand new Mercedes-Benz engine will be fitted to his single seater at the Interlagos circuit ahead of free practice on Saturday.

Alonso, on the other hand, must again use the engine he raced to second place in Shanghai two weeks ago in qualifying and the grand prix in Brazil, according to the rules.

Both Ferrari contenders are also due for new engines in Brazil, having reached the end of the mandatory two-race cycle in China.

The new ‘engine freeze’ rules for 2007, however, prevents Hamilton’s crew – and the Ferrari team – from rolling out special aggressive developments for the championship decider, but the situation is a significant advantage for them over Alonso.

Because Brazil is the final race of the season, the necessary ‘life’ of a new engine is approximately halved, from 1000km to about 500km.

“It means that we can try to increase the severity of usage of the engine, for example by running higher revs,” said Ferrari’s head of track engineering (engine), Mattia Binotto.

“We can also run it at higher temperatures,” he said ahead of the Brazilian grand prix.

The German newspaper ‘TZ’, meanwhile, claims that the Mercedes-Benz horse power advantage for Hamilton in Brazil, compared with Alonso, will be about 10 horse power.

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