Nico Rosberg will be forced to use the older-spec Mercedes engine for the remainder of the Italian Grand Prix weekend after his updated power unit developed a problem in Saturday’s final practice session.

The German reported inconsistent power delivery during Saturday’s one-hour session – in which he finished third-fastest – and after analysis of the power unit after the session, the team has elected to perform a hasty engine change before qualifying; he will now use the same power unit he ran at the Belgian Grand Prix.

“[An] engine problem for Nico Rosberg in FP3 means we’re reverting back to the Spa race power unit on his #F1 W06 Hybrid [for qualifying],” the team wrote on its Twitter feed.

“As this engine is already in the race pool, Nico Rosberg will not receive a penalty for taking the engine change.”

The works team came into this weekend’s race armed with a new-specification engine after Mercedes elected to use all seven of its available engine development tokens as it to get a jump on its rivals in bringing forward some of the development items it was planning to use in the 2016 season.

The updated engines literally arrived in the Monza paddock on the night before the first practice session, but it proved to be a worthwhile decision. The Silver Arrows dominated both of the Friday practice sessions, while Hamilton completed a clean sweep at the top of the timesheets in Saturday’s final session.

Rosberg’s engine change will almost certainly deliver Hamilton his seventh successive pole position, but the German might have the advantage come Sunday armed with an engine with proven reliability.

Image via Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.