Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton could face an 11-place grid penalty following reports that his power unit has suffered damage.
Hamilton won at the Brazilian Interlagos circuit, the first time that the 33-year-old has won a Grand Prix after sealing the world title, but it was not a comfortable ride as he had to nurse his Mercedes car across the line.
The five-time world champion's WO9 engine suffered a "significant" issue during the Grand Prix and it could affect Hamilton in the Middle East next weekend.
“If we just go back a little bit and look at what happened in the race, after the first pit stop with Lewis we noticed quite a significant problem, which required a huge amount of input from a number of sources,” said James Vowles, Mercedes chief strategist.
“We have a team back in the UK at Brixworth who work alongside us on the intercom, and we have a huge team trackside working together diligently to understand what we can change on the engine to get to the end of the race.
“They did a fantastic job. It wasn’t one change – it was a huge number of changes across a 40 – 50 lap period, where they were working with Lewis to adjust various componentry and get that power unit to the end of the race. They did a fantastic job.”
With the extent of damage to the power unit, his third allowed without penalty, yet to be discovered, Hamilton could face consequences at Abu Dhabi.
Vowles explained: “The engine has sustained some level of damage, but we don’t yet understand what.
"It has to be inspected and understood before we can make any decision going forward to Abu Dhabi.”
If the Mercedes man does receive a penalty, which would be his first this season due to engine issues, he could start the final Grand Prix 11th or below.
Luckily for the Brit, both the Drivers' Championship and the Constructors' Championship is already wrapped up, so any penalty wouldn't be too costly.